I'm starting to think about the Alarm Will Sound concert of John Adams music a couple of weeks from now in Berkeley. The program consists of China Gates, Chamber Symphony, Gnarly Buttons, and Scratchband. China Gates is a simple piece for solo piano, right? And yet Alarm Will Sound is an ensemble? Hmm...
The AWS site program description also lists Hoodoo Zephyr selections and Short Ride in a Fast Machine.
Adams on China Gates (and its pair Phrygian Gates):
Phrygian Gates is a behemoth of sorts and requires a pianist capable of considerable physical endurance and with an ability to sustain long arches of sound. China Gates, on the other hand, was written for young pianists and utilizes the same principles without resorting to virtuoso technical effects. It too oscillates between two modal worlds, only it does so with extreme delicacy. It strikes me now as a piece calling for real attention to details of dark, light and the shadows that exist between.
I happen to prefer China Gates compared to the much longer and sophisticated Phrygian Gates.
aws links: cool but hard-to-navigate-and-search web site. myspace site (quick, hit the mute button). uc berkeley concert page. uc berkeley concert press release (pdf). recent concert reviews: allan kozinn. justin davidson. south carolina. jerry bowles. related links: alarm will sound plays aphex twin. aphex twin/philip glass.