John Luther Adams: For Lou Harrison
Liner Notes   Cat. No. 80669     Release Date: 2007-01-01

The Callithumpian Consort, Stephen Drury, conductor

Lou Harrison was a generous friend and wise mentor to me for almost thirty years. Lou’s faith and support of my music was a decisive influence in my life. I learned more of practical value from my time with Lou than from any of my institutional studies. And he was an inspiring model of how to live, without regret or bitterness, as an uncompromising independent composer.

Composed in 2003–2004, for Lou Harrison completes a trilogy of large-scale memorial works that also includes Clouds of Forgetting, Clouds of Unknowing (1991–95) and In the White Silence (1998). for Lou Harrison encompasses the most lush and active textures in my music to date, moving in four tempo layers (in the proportions 4/5/6/7) throughout. The work’s two textures—rising arpeggios over sustained harmonic clouds, and long solo lines over “procession-like” material—alternate in nine continuous sections, each of which is grounded in a different five-, six- or seven-tone harmony. The formal structures of the composition recur throughout the score, but the sound of the music is always changing.

for Lou Harrison was not commissioned. I composed this work because I was compelled to do so in response to the death of one of the most important figures in my life. Amid the daunting realities of today’s world, Lou Harrison and his joyful ecumenical life and music seem more vital and more pertinent than ever before.                       —John Luther Adams

for Lou Harrison is neither naive nor sentimental—though I don’t have a problem with that sometimes either (remember: rules are not chains!). But there is a great deal of emotion, and of tenderness—for Lou, and for the listeners who will be moved by this music. This type of expressivity is not to be confused with any sort of “New Romanticism.” The latter is a neoconservative response to this communication crisis, a falling back into old formulas of stylistic and rhetorical gestures. Authentic emotion is always fresh: that is the magic and the constantly renewing originality of art; and without a love for the listeners (who else does one write music for?—not just for the sake of theory or analysis, for god’s sake!), music becomes only stale technique. In the academic manner in which music is taught and judged these days, we too often confuse technical competence with real creativity—but in the end, the discerning public knows the difference. So here is tenderness, and beauty.           —Peter Garland

Callithumpian Consort

John Luther Adams: For Lou Harrison

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Track Listing

Beginning
John Luther Adams
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Measure 93
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Letter H
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Measure 315
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Letter P
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Measure 537
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Letter X
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Measure 759
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Letter Ff
John Luther Adams
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