John Luther Adams’ Become Desert is a remarkable expansion on the ideas he developed for his Pulitzer-winning (and Grammy-winning) work Become Ocean. While not necessarily a “sequel” in the literal sense, the recording certainly shares multiple elements with its predecessor — including, most significantly, the renewal of Adams’ creative partnership with conductor Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony.
In his 2018 essay for the New York Times, Adams prepares us for listening to Become Desert with a map, of sorts, to help us find the state of “swimming in light” that the music is meant to convey. Along the way, “You begin to feel that this music you had thought was suspended in time is slowly leading you somewhere, pulling you somewhere. It continues upward, rising with inevitable force, like the wind or the light.”
The second disc in this 2-disc set is a DVD which includes a 5.1 surround mix of the recording, as well as a slideshow of desert images (all still photography by John Luther Adams) that loops during playback. And as further testament to the technical sophistication of the recording process itself, the production team behind Become Desert has partnered with Dolby Laboratories to create a Dolby Atmos mix—a first for a Cantaloupe Music release, available via Acoustic Sounds and other HD retailers on June 14.
released June 14, 2019
Become Desert was co-commissioned by:
Ludovic Morlot, Music Director
with the generous support of Leslie and Dale Chihuly
The New York Philharmonic
Jaap Van Zweden, Music Director
with co-commissions from the San Diego Symphony and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.
Become Desert was premiered by the Seattle Symphony on March 29 and 31, 2018 in Benaroya Hall as part of the Seattle Symphony’s Delta Air Lines Masterworks Season.
Producers: Nathaniel Reichman, Dmitriy Lipay Recording engineers: Dmitriy Lipay, Alexander Lipay Mixing and mastering engineer: Nathaniel Reichman Surround engineers: Nathaniel Reichman, Dmitriy Lipay
Recorded on September 25 and 26, 2018 in the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium in Benaroya Hall, Seattle, WA. Edited at Tippet Rise Art Center, Fishtail MT. Mixed at Dolby Laboratories, New York, NY. Mastered at Dubway Studios, Delmar, NY.
Music engraving by Samuel Clay Birmaher
Special thanks to Cynthia Adams, Molly Sheridan, Allison Ryan-Reichman, Tim O’Donnell, Earl Blackburn, Peter and Cathy Halstead, Monte Nickles, Krishna Thiagarajan, Elena Dubinets and Rosalie Contreras.
Special thanks to the Robert D. Bielecki Foundation and the Aaron Copland Fund for Music for their invaluable contributions to this recording.
Become Desert is published by Taiga Press (BMI) and distributed by Chester Music/Music Sales.
Executive producers: Michael Gordon, David Lang, Kenny Savelson and Julia Wolfe
Label manager: Bill Murphy
Sales & licensing: Adam Cuthbert
Label assistant: Cassie Wieland
Art direction: Jim Fox
Photography: Dennis Keeley (package interior), El Mirage (1992)
NASA (booklet interior)
DVD menus: John Brown @ cloud chamber
DVD authoring: Michael Fossenkemper
All still photography visible during DVD playback courtesy of John Luther Adams
For more information about the Seattle Symphony, visit seattlesymphony.org
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