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Lea Wang | Harvard Political Review
The Politics of Prayer: John Luther Adams and Art that Reimagines Climate Change
At the end of March, the Philadelphia Orchestra premiered “Vespers of the Blessed Earth,” the most recent work of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Luther Adams. Critics have described “Vespers” as a marked, climate change-inspired departure from Adams’ previous compositions — ”direct and message-driven”; a score that “mourns and damns, and declares where in the past Adams might have simply observed.” But Adams is surprised that reception to “Vespers” has invoked so much politics.
His music perfectly echoes the landscape he loves: impersonal, relentless, larger than human scale, yet gorgeous, a quiet chaos of colors, suffused with light. It’s not a climate everyone could live in. But for those who want to bathe their ears in an aural aurora borealis while staying warm inside, it’s a spiritual odyssey well worth taking. - Kyle Gann
john luther adams
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