Choice: Concert

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Indy Lifestyle Online
John Adams, Barbican Hall, London EC1 (0171-638 8891)

Julian Lloyd Webber recently attacked contemporary classical composers for ignoring their potential audience. Oh really? That may have been true in the stern Sixties, Julian, but you clearly haven't been at a James MacMillan Prom, a Steve Reich premiere or a John Adams concert recently. And what about John Tavener who stormed the charts after his radiant Song for Athene was sung at Princess Diana's funeral? In the wake of Diana's death, the worldwide audience of the Last Night of the Proms was denied the stunning orchestral charge of Adams's four-minute fanfare Short Ride in a Fast Machine as the absurdly oversensitive powers-that-be deemed the title inappropriate. There were no such problems at last month's packed- out London premiere of his opera Nixon in China. Continuing the Barbican's American season, Michael Tilson Thomas conducts an all-20th century programme climaxing (I use the word advisedly) with Adams' Harmonielehre. Lloyd Webber ought to be there.

David Benedict

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