I am not a big fan of modern classical music. It is often “interesting” and “attention grabbing” but it often fails the want-to-hear-it-again test. An exception for me is the minimalist music of John Adams that I have enjoyed for more than 2 decades following the release of Harmonielehre in 1985. Adams is visiting Australia and last night appeared as conductor/composer at the Melbourne Arts Centre. He conducted his 5-minute, Short Ride in a Fast Machine, his award-winning Violin Concerto and his energetic and enervating City Noir Symphony – a strange jazz-inspired takeoff from those dramatic opening passages in black and white noir cinema – a sample.
Adams is a very animated conductor – he “grooved” along with the music. Watching him I enjoyed his music more because he obviously did! His style is very American and that is a positive in this context.