1 Song, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

John Luther Adams won a Pulitzer for his 2013 orchestral work Become Ocean, highlighting the threat of rising seas from melting ice caps. In his 40-minute, one-movement Become Desert, Adams turns his attention to our parched landscapes. This is music that embodies the sweltering sun, the morning dew evaporating with the dawn, and the airless environment. Adams’ expansive music—scored for five ensembles (and choir), each moving at different speeds—swells and dissipates, growing inexorably. The music reaches suffocating levels of intensity at its climax, brass piercing the textures like waves of heat. Night, and relief from the sun, eventually come, a tiny bell ringing out as the sun drops below the horizon.

EDITORS’ NOTES

John Luther Adams won a Pulitzer for his 2013 orchestral work Become Ocean, highlighting the threat of rising seas from melting ice caps. In his 40-minute, one-movement Become Desert, Adams turns his attention to our parched landscapes. This is music that embodies the sweltering sun, the morning dew evaporating with the dawn, and the airless environment. Adams’ expansive music—scored for five ensembles (and choir), each moving at different speeds—swells and dissipates, growing inexorably. The music reaches suffocating levels of intensity at its climax, brass piercing the textures like waves of heat. Night, and relief from the sun, eventually come, a tiny bell ringing out as the sun drops below the horizon.

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