Tim Page doesn't like Adams' Harmonielehre but did like the National Symphony Orchestra's performance:
Even setting aside the outright quotations -- from the Sibelius Symphony No. 4, from Mahler's Symphony No. 10 and from Schoenberg's "Gurrelieder," among others -- much of the piece comes across as appropriated, a tour of distant masterpieces as seen through cheap binoculars.
Tim Smith takes a different view:
But what really grabs the willing ear in Harmonielehre is the uplift generated by the two outer movements, a sensual, visceral pulling away from the bonds of conventional musical expectation. Surrendering to that release is one of most exhilarating, no-artificial-stimulant experiences you can get in a concert hall.
Along with Adams’ Violin Concerto, Short Ride..., Shaker Loops and El Niño it is among the finest, most accessible of his works… swelling and ebbing rousingly, hinting at minimalism only faintly in the first movement.
And Dublin has a John Adams festival this weekend, including of course Harmonielehre.
Me, just thinking of the piece has triggered another ear-worm, this time of the opening I don't particularly like.