Yuja Wang plays up with John Adams’s Devil Tunes

The soloist in the world premiere of John Adams’s piano concert next month will be Yuja Wang.

The concerto is titled Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes?

The conductor is Gustavo Dudamel.

First we saw the death of irony. Now parody has died, too.

Let’s confine comments to the question of whether it is wise to use a question mark in a music title.


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  • Dudamel conducts Yuja plays – one can only imagine what it could be – and why wouldn’t Yuja put that mackerel dress on ? ;))) ….. and no those inclusively-obliged obligations – just a pure fun altogether with a mastership
    Disclaimer 😉 – just my opinion, of course

    • Any regular reader of SD knows that Gustavo Dudamel is held in contempt by SD and many of its posters. Yuja Wang has more support among the posters, but SD appears to disdain her too. The feelings of musicians throughout the world regarding either are apparently all wrong.

  • Like Adams’ previous piano concertos, this will receive a splashy premiere and then never be heard again. Adams should retire, he’s embarrassing himself at this point.

    • Speaking from experience, I cataloged and appraised John’s archives in 2018. Having done the research, John’s music is performed with regularity all over the World. His “A Short Ride in a Fast Machine” is without peer as the single most performed orchestral work by a living classical composer. As far as works for piano solo and orchestra are concerned, there are only two, “Eros Piano” (1989) and “Century Rolls” (1997), neither are piano concertos in the truest sense of the word. This new work is his first structural piano concerto.

      By the way, each of the two mentioned works have been performed well over 100 times since their premieres.

      To quote President John Adams, not the composer, “Facts are stubborn things.”

      • In 30 years of concert going I’ve never seen “Eros Piano” or “Century Rolls” on a concert program and have never known a pianist that has played either one, but I’ll take your word for it.

        • Premieres: Eros Piano, Paul Crossley and the London Sinfonietta, 1989 and Century Rolls with Emanuel Ax & the Cleveland Orchestra, 1996. (published 1997)….as each pianist is well known and other well known pianists have also played the works, it would appear you are writing primarily because you do not like his works, rather than from knowledge. By the way Garrick Ohlsson premiered his American Berserk for solo piano at Carnegie Hall.

          • Spend a little time with the Boosey & Hawkes and Schirmer websites, it is all there and I’ve done enough. Something perhaps you should have done before posting your initial thoughts. What this breaks down to is your personal opinion, Adams popularity is based on the fact that his music puts butts in seats and his recordings sell as well. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, however, your initial comment was demonstrably wrong. If you wish to post negatively, do your homework first and if you wish to announce your displeasure, either have a command of the facts, or state that it is your opinion. Your initial comment was blatantly wrong.

          • It was overstated, sure, but not wrong. His previous works for piano and orchestra are not in the active repertoire. 100 performances in 30 years is nothing. I’m sure you know that works that are actually in the active repertoire (such as “Short Ride”) get that many plays and more in a single year. I’m not saying Adams isn’t generally popular, but these works clearly are not. My point was that this new work will likely be no more widely played than the previous two, and I stand by it.

      • ‘His “A Short Ride in a Fast Machine” is without peer as the single most performed orchestral work by a living classical composer.’ – considering the state of the classical composer, this should be no surprise.

  • I prefer the ‘question and answer’ paradigm to be found in Beethoven’s sonata form. This is the site of real dialogue, argument and resolution.

    • Simple-minded “questions” answered with tautological Aspergers-fueled repetitious “answers” in a furious but impotent rage against deafness.

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