Friday, October 17, 2008

More on "Doctor Atomic"

previous post

There are new reviews so I thought I'd provide some tidbits:

    Jeremy Eichler of the Boston Globe: "the subject drew out some of his most compelling and imaginative music to date...The score of "Doctor Atomic" weds a cool Stravinskian precision and rhythmic vitality with a kind of seething Wagnerian dread. Rapid caffeinated figures dart around the orchestra like hyperactive electrons. Strange, darkly glowing woodwind chords hover like a vapor. Low brass notes rattle ominously as if marking the edge of an abyss. At various points, loudspeakers positioned throughout the hall project prerecorded sounds - truck engines, snatches of period pop music, and, in the end, a long, loud digitally distorted timpani roll whose vibrations rise from the floor like an earth tremor."

    Vibhuti Patel of Newsweek: "Adams's music is not unrelentingly modern—it is lyrical, romantic, Wagnerian by turns, and it matches the enormity of his myth. The choral singing is grand as the libretto uses the Bhagavad Gita's horrific descriptions of universal destruction to create the terror of the bomb."

I've only heard recordings of the opera, but I tend to agree with these reviewers; the music is an amazing blend of moderns sounds with traditional elements. It is at times, traditional opera, and yet completely modern in concept and execution. I suspect Doctor Atomic will quickly become as much a part of the standard repertoire as Peter Grimes.

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