Adams: Road Movies

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LABELS: Analekta
WORKS: Road Movies; John’s Book of Alleged Dances; Shaker Loops
PERFORMER: Angèle Dubeau (violin), Louise Bessette (piano); La Pietà

Shaker Loops has been widely recorded in both its orchestral version and as a septet. The Kronos Quartet offered the same selection of movements from John’s Book of Alleged Dances back in 1998, while Leila Josefowicz and John Novacek were the first to record Road Movies. But Angèle Dubeau and the Canadian ensemble La Pietà bring affection, precision, and a programme that makes a persuasive narrative from these three works which had yet to feature on one disc.
Road Movies (1995) describes a journey beyond the experience of most European motorists. This is open highway, blue-sky driving of the sort that can ease the mind and soul. Though Dubeau sounds less relaxed than Josefowicz, pianist Louise Bessette brings an elated clarity to Adams’s figures. The same sense of joy informs the six movements from Alleged Dances, from the industrious buzz of ‘Hammer and Chisel’ to the canine skittering of ‘Dogjam’. The balance between pre-recorded loops for prepared piano and string quartet is alluring.
In Shaker Loops the tone is of watchful expectation, prayerful simplicity and vibrant grace. La Pietà colours Adams’s filaments of sound delicately, the proud bare fifths in A Final Shaking sound bold and sweet. Anna Picard