Let's disambiguate the "John Adams." Bear with me. John Adams was the second President of the United States, defeating Thomas Jefferson in the election of 1796. John (and Abigail) Adams' son, John Quincy Adams, was the sixth President of the United States, defeating Andrew Jackson in the election of 1824, when, lacking a majority of electoral votes, the House of Representatives voted him to ofice. John Coolidge Adams is the Berkeley-residing, post-minimalist, baby boomer composer who wrote the music for the opera Nixon in China. John Luther Adams, slightly younger than John Coolidge Adams, is the Alaska-residing, post-minimalist composer who writes music greatly influenced by his Northern environment. Note that at a panel session of the Cabrillo Music Festival that included John Coolidge Adams, composer Lou Harrison, an advocate of John Luther Adams (and presumably of John Coolidge Adams as well), thought it important to point out that this was John Coolidge Adams on the panel, not to be confused with John Luther Adams. For blog completeness, John Calvin Coolidge Jr. became President upon Warren Gamaliel Harding's death and was elected President in 1924. Richard Milhous Nixon won the presidency in 1968, was re-elected in 1972, and resigned in 1974, due to the Watergate Scandal. Thanks for your patience.
Ok, this piece is by John Luther Adams. Unfortunately, I have mixed feelings about it. A CD-length piece written as a memorial to his mother, parts are quite poignant. However, much of the work also contains what I presume to be a celesta and bells, which end up dominating the aural space to the point of distraction. I generally like metallic instruments and sounds but not in this case.
As a further complication, this piece reminds me of John Coolidge Adams' El Dorado, especially in the latter's portrayal of the land of California and its serenity after humanity.
Nicholas Croft on Amazon was more positive about this work by John Luther Adams:
In the structural center of 1998's "In the White Silence", a string quartet, celeste, harp and vibraphone each transmit echoes of a cleanly resonant luminosity, amidst sensual drone like clusters of sustained string work. In these lush sustained string clusters, the listener is drawn gently into the spirit of the work's intoxicatingly ethereal presence.
Disclaimer: I never knew until today what the "G" in Warren G. Harding stood for.