Wednesday, October 08, 2008

You Can Find It On YouTube

Reviewing the composer John Adams' memoirs in today's New York Times, Charles McGrath writes: wish the book could have come wired with a soundtrack illustrating his points and sampling some of his hits. Even readers who know Mr. Adams’s music would welcome turning the page and hearing a snippet of, say, “Hallelujah Junction,” a piece for two pianos that gives the book its title, or “Grand Pianola Music,” ...

While the book may not be come wired, one can find examples of Adams' music on YouTube. Here's "Hallelujah Junction":

...and here's a snippet from "Grand Pianola Music":

...accompanied by some interesting visuals and commentary.

The Times has been including these kinds of excerpts alongside a number of their reviews and feature articles more and more. I've gotten to a point where I automatically type into YouTube the name of any piece I read about but haven't heard. Most of the time, I come up with something. Granted, it's often not the entire work, and the depths of sonority are lacking on my laptop. But more and more often, what I'm looking for is there, often on YouTube. And it's amazing what I can find.

For those out there who aren't familiar with this kind of adrenaline-filled, sometimes unbearably ecstatic music, a good, quick introduction is Adams' "Short Ride in a Fast Machine." It's the "Snakes on a Plane" of modern classical music - the title tells you just what you're going to hear. And it's no longer than a pop song...

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