John Adams: Son of Chamber Symphony, String Quartet

The American composer challenges his players to feats of technical virtuosity

John Adams

Son of Chamber Symphony, String Quartet

International Contemporary Ensemble, St Lawrence String Quartet

(Nonesuch)

In Son of Chamber Symphony (2007), two scherzo-like outer movements frame a centrepiece that manages to be both calm and upbeat. John Adams challenges his 15 players to feats of technical virtuosity but seems to be treading all-too-familiar ground.

Much more successful is String Quartet (2008), a powerful homage to classical form in Adams’ most sensitive vein. Excellent performances.

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