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Customer Review

on 26 April 2014
This is a remarkable recording. The Gospel According to the Other Mary is, for me, a masterpiece that stands next to Bach's famous Passions as their 21st century counterpart. This review is biased: I was lucky to be in Walt Disney Hall on Sunday, March 10, 2013, to experience the semi staged performance directed by Peter Sellars. It was the third of three performances, and I found it to be a shattering experience. (The world premiere was given in concert performances in May 2012, which were followed by revisions by the composer, resulting in a shorter, much more dramatically and emotionally coherent version). Hearing the recording made during the days of early March 2013 brings back very special memories, especially visual ones. The recording is very well done, but may perhaps be somewhat daunting for the person who hears this music for the first time: Sellar's production was congenial to Adam's vocal, choral, and orchestral writing: solo and ensemble voices, choral voices, dense orchestral sound as well as tender chamber music and solo instrumental accompaniments, together with movement of singers and dancers/mimes, and stage lighting; everything blended extremely well together - this muliti-dimensionality is lost in the audio recording, superb as it is (hopefully, there will be a DVD of this piece, so that one can at least get some impression of the audio-visual whole). Vocal soloists as well as LA Chorale and Philharmonic give this great work their all. Ideally, The Gospel According to the Other Mary would benefit much from being performed together with El Nino, as both pieces, respectively reflecting on he birth and death of Jesus, and placing these reflection squarely in the context of the experience of the people living in contemporary (Hispano)America, complement each other in profound ways. It would be worth the expense and hard work to perform, and hear and see them (so to say, as a diptych) on a single day. For someone not so familiar with Adam's music, this work will require attentive and repeated listening. The effort will be rewarded. The forces recorded here took the piece on tour to London, Paris, Lucerne, and New York. It is to be hoped that it will find courageous and engaged artists elsewhere who come together to bring it to life, as Adams' and Sellars' meditation (there, I said it!) deserves to be heard, seen, and experienced more than once, and not only during the Lenten Season. Some masterpieces cannot be fathomed in one single performance: one needs to expose oneself to them a second, and even third, time. Adams' Gospel According to the Other Mary is such a masterpiece.
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Product Details

4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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