Ralph Van Raat, John Adams: Complete Piano Music

Seth Colter Walls

By Seth Colter Walls

on 08.05.11 in Reviews

Aside from the original “Shaker Loops,” the other highlight of Adams’s early career is his writing for solo piano. These pieces are most efficiently collected on this single disc from Naxos. “Phyrgian Gates,” at 30 minutes, sees Adams’s ambitions testing the limits of pure minimalism: The pieces feel at times as though it wants to burst out into the wild, orchestrated colors of a full-throated symphony…though no philharmonic has commissioned Adams to write one yet. (Don’t worry: they will, in time.)