The John Adams Earbox
The John Adams Earbox is a ten-CD retrospective of almost all of Adams’s music written between the late 1970’s and late 1990’s. In 1985 Adams began a long-term exclusive relationship with Nonesuch Records which has resulted in one of the most thoroughly documented catalogues of any living composer. Many of the recordings are conducted by the composer himself, and all have been created under his supervision. The box set includes an extensively annotated booklet with photos and essays by Renaud Marchart, chief music critic for Le Monde, Nonesuch president Bob Hurwitz and by Adams himself. Until the time that a major monograph on Adams’s work appears this document should be the most thorough source of information on his life and work.
Writing about The John Adams Earbox in the San Francisco Chronicle, Joshua Kosman said “The single-artist retrospective, that standby in the world of the visual arts, gets undertaken all too infrequently in music. We hear a composer’s most popular works repeatedly, and the new works when they first appear. But to hear a thorough overview of one career–with the opportunity to detect both stylistic shifts and recurrent concerns–is a rare pleasure. The chance to take such a long view is only one of the many delights offered by “The John Adams Earbox”, a compendium of music by (Adams) who is by some reckonings the most popular and important classical composer of our day….What’s important is the inclusion all in one place of some of the most brilliant, inventive and simply beautiful music of the past three decades…The reconciliation of many musical impulses–all genuine, all deeply beloved but newly reinterpreted–is what gives this music its heady, unforgettable charge.”