Long known as America’s “eco-composer,” John Luther Adams goes to the depths of the Grand Canyon and into the Colorado River in his new piece, Vespers of the Blessed Earth, with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Crossing choir in tow.
Performances start March 30 in Verizon Hall and will feature a warm bath of choral sound (to judge from the weekend rehearsals), while naming the rocks and their colors along the way: “Redwall Limestone, deep red, brown, Temple Butte Limestone, purple, grey, Bright Angel Shale, green, tan, brown...”
The opening movement in a piece about the decline of Earth is succinct and earnest, covering 2 billion years of rock formation in less than 15 minutes.
“It’s probably the most personal and overtly expressive music I’ve ever composed,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning Adams said by phone from New Mexico. “I think it’s because I feel this so deeply for our fellow human beings on this beautiful planet.”
Photo credit: Monica Herndon