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John Luther Adams: Everything That Rises

Jack Quartet (Cold Blue Music)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

John Luther Adams Everything That Rises
Jack Quartet
Cold Blue Music CB0051 56:21 mins


Heralded by the Boston Globe as ‘superheroes of the new music world,’ the Jack Quartet have made waves in the group’s ten-year history. This latest disc pairs the quartet with another ‘new music superhero’. John Luther Adams is a longstanding environmental activist, and his much-celebrated music tends to evoke landscapes and communities that are at risk or little understood, in vast yet delicately crafted scores. Everything That Rises (2017) was composed specifically for the quartet, but also grows out Adams’s 2013 Sila: Breath of the World for choir and orchestra. This large-scale piece explored the Inuit concept of sila – the breath or spirit found in all living things – with each performer playing at their own pace, working their way through 16 harmonic ‘clouds’. A deeply introspective work, Everything That Rises is cast as a single, hour-long movement and develops this same notion of ‘harmonic clouds’. Each voice of the quartet moves independently, to wend slowly and delicately up through the harmonic series until, in the composer’s words, ‘the music dissolves into the soft noise of the bows, sighing’. Performed with consummate poise by the Jack Quartet, the disc offers listeners a strange, dream-like experience, at once meditative, mysterious and gripping.


Kate Wakeling