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John Adams: American Classic [DVD] [2009]

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4 out of 5 stars 1 review from the U.S.

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Product details

  • Directors: David Jeffcock
  • Format: Classical, Colour, DVD-Video, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, German
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: EMI
  • DVD Release Date: 24 Nov. 2008
  • Run Time: 53 minutes
  • ASIN: B001G5ZO6S
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 115,743 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

A profile of the life and work of John Adams, America's most frequently performed living composer. The film, which centres on an in-depth interview filmed at Adams' San Francisco home, features extensive performance extracts from all his major works including 'Nixon in China', 'El Nino', 'Shaker Loops', 'The Chamber Symphony' and 'Gnarly Buttons'.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A short but worthwhile documentary on two Adams operas 31 May 2010
By T. Fisher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
This is a very good introduction to John Adams, the operatic composer. The main drawback to this 58-minute documentary film is its near complete disregard for John Adams, the instrumental composer.

The film starts off with biographical background and a discussion of some of Adams' works, the development of his style, and the relationship of his music to the minimalism of Steve Reich and Philip Glass. There are some excerpts and brief mentions of works like "Harmonielehre" and the "Chamber Symphony".

But once discussion starts going on "Nixon in China", opera becomes the exclusive focus. There is good, if brief, background on both "Nixon in China" and "The Death of Klinghoffer" with interviews from Adams, librettist Alice Goodman, and director Peter Sellars.

I really enjoyed what this documentary had, I just feel that a full documentary on John Adams would need to devote at least a similar level of attention and detail to his instrumental works. Also, I love good long documentaries, and could easily have enjoyed more detail on these operas as well -- even a full-length feature on "Nixon in China" alone.

The only other content on the disc is a 28-minute infomercial from EMI trying to get you to buy other EMI DVDs. Nice clips, but advertisements nonetheless.

Overall this is a a nice little film and a good introduction to John Adams as far as it goes, but a star must be docked for not going farther. And with that, I may be too generous. In my view this is a solid three-and-a-half star outing. Certainly not worth the $30 it is currently going for with shipping -- think about possible rental options.
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