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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 31 August 2014
How you respond to this recording could rather depend on just how familiar you are with these works and any alternative recordings. If you are new to these works then this recording offers a great introduction to some of John Adams' finest orchestral work. The performances by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the vivid, clear sound engineering offer a chance to get to know these works in minute detail.

So why only the three stars? there are five recordings that I know of the main work here, "Harmonielehre" and this is the weakest available. That doesn't men that it's bad it is up against some very stiff competition, of which I'd put Michael Tilson-Thomas's recording with the San Francisco SO a the top - though that's just my view of course. there is an alternative and better version of the Doctor Atomic Symphony but this there's nothing wrong with this Chandos and you get more music on this coupling too.

This recording still provides a fine showcase for all three works but the main draw has to be "Harmonielehre" and I find Peter Oundjian's approach a little too mechanical sounding compared to the best interpretations. Clear as the recorded sound is it sounds, if anything a little too clinical and dry too: compare the richness of the San Francisco SO strings in "Amfortas Wound" to this recording: they're like two different works.

So for something extra special do look elsewhere but this is still a fine recording overall.
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on 10 March 2014
Beautifully clear recording you can hear every note played by every instrument. This is a special work in the modern reportoire because it draws on all the influences from previous generations of composers. It is really a combination of a concerto for orchestra and symphony using all the tools to write for every instrument in the orchestra.

I have always liked the first movement but the last movement shows the influence of the American minimalist composers and how he has integrated his compositional methods to produce one of the most exciting recordings in the catalogue.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 9 January 2014
The Royal Scottish National Orchestra clearly have a fondness for science fiction, they re-recorded music from the first three Alien films, and this album has a wonderful cover that would not look out of place on a fifties creature feature.

The opening tracks from Dr Atomic provide a superbly dark and doomy introduction, that subsequent tracks do not altogether dispel. If you are new to John Adams, then this is excellent, although these are some of his darker works, those already familiar with Adams will likely, already have versions of some of these tracks. Adams completists might find the Doctor Atomic Symphony a slightly better bet as it includes the Guide to Strange Places, which does not appear to be available anywhere else.

This is a very well put together package, that puts an interesting spin on one of the best known of modern composers.
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