Nixon in China and Doctor Atomic at the PSO – Doug Bauman

The music I heard last night at the Pittsburgh Symphony, composed by John Adams, had two different complexions. Nixon in China, an opera with complete symphony and six fantastic voices, was a wonderfully melodic composition which, based on the music alone, was a completely beautiful artistic composition that I found quite pleasing. It was music that I would like to hear again. My only disappointment was with some of the words, but my mind only perceived a few of those, I'm one of those right brain types that only hears the music. Somehow, the words I did hear startled me with their political dissonance, and I chose instead to concentrate on the wonderful score. I remember the idea of Nixon visiting Red China as a wonderful way to open people's minds to the fact that worlds can be brought together.

The second composition played by the PSO and written and conducted by Mr. Adams was his Doctor Atomic Symphony. It began rather stark, with some musical dissonance, but what do you expect, it is supposed to represent the bomb.  It went on to some very nice music throughout. At one point near the end there was a very sad and melodic movement which was simply beautiful, a very moving piece of music. Again I found myself wishing to hear this again. It was the kind of music that might compel one to write poetry. If I could hear it again, I think I would

1 thought on “Nixon in China and Doctor Atomic at the PSO – Doug Bauman”

  • I’m guessing the final movement you’re referring to is the music from the aria “Batter My Heart, Three Personed God” which indeed might not only inspire you to write poetry, but which is in fact based on the John Donne poem by the same name. Oppenheimer apparently liked Donne’s poetry.

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