Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra

John Adams: The Gospel According to the Other Mary

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John Adams' The Gospel According to the Other Mary, first performed in 2012 in Los Angeles, is something of an expansion on the composer's El Niño, a Passion story adorned with a variety of contemporary themes and musical materials. Like the earlier work, it features a libretto by longtime Adams collaborator Peter Sellars, and it may be sung on-stage as an oratorio or presented as an opera. Mary Magdalene is indeed a central figure in the work, but actually it is more than the trick perspective the title might imply; as with El Niño Sellars incorporates such devices as set pieces featuring poetry by other writers (this time poet Louise Erdrich plays the central role). Jesus seems to appear as through a prism, embodied by a trio of countertenors: a typical Adams masterstroke. Bach's Passions are obvious antecedents, but Andrew Clements of the London Guardian has accurately pointed out a resemblance to a work by a composer not much mentioned in the same breath as Adams: Leonard Bernstein's Mass. The music has similar ambitions and a similar way, although not so extreme, of veering off into contemporary vernacular materials according to the text. This doesn't suit Adams perfectly, although he takes steps, including a recurring use of the cimbalom, to tie all his diverse materials together. At any rate, the work is never boring and often absorbing; the enthusiasm of conductor Gustavo Dudamel, the vocal performers, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra for the material is palpable; and this sprawling score is clearly recorded. Time will tell whether concert-music big events like this one will have staying power, but there's a lot to chew on here for anyone with the slightest liking for Adams and his democratic, synoptic musical world.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
The Gospel According to the Other Mary
1 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 04:09 Amazon
2 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 02:44 Amazon
3 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 01:40 Amazon
4 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 03:25 Amazon
5 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 04:16 Amazon
6 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 04:00 Amazon
7 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 02:03 Amazon
8 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 02:26 Amazon
9 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 02:49 Amazon
10 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 01:53 Amazon
11 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 03:42 Amazon
12 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 01:52 Amazon
13 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 04:19 Amazon
14 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 03:07 Amazon
15 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 00:42 Amazon
16 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 06:38 Amazon
17 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 04:46 Amazon
18 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 01:40 Amazon
19 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 05:19 Amazon
20 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 09:29 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
The Gospel According to the Other Mary
1 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 03:49 Amazon
2 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 05:40 Amazon
3 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 02:25 Amazon
4 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 01:29 Amazon
5 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 02:54 Amazon
6 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 03:01 Amazon
7 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 06:14 Amazon
8 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 03:03 Amazon
9 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 01:26 Amazon
10 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 02:12 Amazon
11 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 07:35 Amazon
12 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 01:32 Amazon
13 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 04:34 Amazon
14 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 02:08 Amazon
15 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 04:01 Amazon
16 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 03:17 Amazon
17 Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 06:25 Amazon
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