Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra 

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In both Nixon in China and The Death of Klinghofer, Bay Area composer John Adams and librettist Alice Kahn turned front-page events into meditations on conflicting ideologies and cultural values. Peter Sellars's Kabuki-meet-CNN stagings of them may have come under a lot of criticism, but few reviewers found fault with Adams's hip, hypnotic scores. If his music reminds you of philip Glass, it's no accident. Heavily influenced by the minimalism of Glass and Steve Reich as well as by Carl Orff and Gustav Holst, Adams is at heart a deft arranger. It'll be interesting to see what twists he's added to Liszt's Italophile fantasy La lugubre gondola II, one of the works slated for performance by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. It'll be even more interesting to compare his arranging job with what Anton Webern did to the 13th section of Bach's The Musical Offering, also on the bill. The remainder of this outstanding program includes: Britten's Lachrymae, Haydn's Symphony no. 83 in G Minor, and Rain Coming by Takemitsu, Japan's leading composer, better known in the West for having scored several of Kurosawa's masterpieces. Adams, who's part of a novel triumvirate of musical directors for the Saint Paul, will conduct. Sunday, 3 PM, Orchestra Hall, 220 S. Michigan; 435-6666.

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