Adams may have seemed a surprising choice to compose a requiem/memorial to the victims of the New York terrorist attacks. But this piece is remarkable; blending spoken word with choir and orchestra it demands repeated listening. It would have been easy for Adams to compose a piece similar to Barber's Adagio for Strings, often over-used with memorials and commemorations, but he has avoided cliche to produce a unique piece of 'music'.
It could be argued that Transmigration of Souls is not 'musical' in the ordinary sense and will not be performed regularly; that it is an intimate link to those events will preclude regular performance, yet it is still worth hearing even if only once.
The 'live' performance consists of taped 'street sounds' (cars, footfalls) with recorded messages and names of 'missing' individuals played against an orchestral backdrop. This differs so strongly from a detached Requiem, since the named 'missing' individuals and the spoken words of family members are all too real.
Adams has reacted to events that have changed his country permanently with a sincere and humane work. Strongly recommended.