Recommend me more like John Adams..

Hi all

I just bought John Adams "The Dharma at Big Sur". It's an incredibly beautiful, indian-influenced piece featuring an electric violin. Somehow I just connect to it and find myself transported. Do check it out if you get a chance.

I'd like to find more music like this. I already enjoy Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians, Gorecki's 3rd Symphony, and Arvo Part's Fratres, which are in some sense similar to the Adams work. Could anyone recommend more music similar to this? I like all kinds of music and love to discover and explore new stuff.

I have been put off by some avant garde music that just seems to me to be chaotic. I enjoy listening to music that is serene but not to the point of soporific.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions
If you can stomach opera, I think Adams' own "Nixon n China"is a masterpiece.

For something less minimalist, and not exactly serene, try Olivier Messeian's organ and piano compositions -- especially the 20 Regards de l'Enfant Jesus.
In addition to the Messeian mentioned above, try the Adams and Glass violin concertos. Robert McDuffie does them both extremely well on a Telarc disc. The Adams uses a synthesizer in the orchestra; the Glass piece is very hypnotic. McDuffie told me that when he played it in Germany with the Stutgart Radio Symphony Orchestra the musicians were grumbling about the repetitive nature of the piece, but when they played it the audience so got into it that it inspired the musicians; they wound up selling over 50 of this CD at the concert's intermission, an unheard-of number for that orchestra. I personally like the Adams more, I think it's a more interesting piece.
Push those choices into a more pop-infleuenced genre and you might also enjoy music by Rachel's. I'd recommend checking out Systems Layers and Selenography. I've also enjoyed most of the work I've heard from Part, but particularly Alina and Te Deum.Bring in a chorus and try Lux Aeterna. If you like serene, and really have a taste for the avant garde, give Gavin Bryars' Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet a listen - hypnotic in a Phillip Glass sort of way, but completely unique.
Try Zia Mohuiddin Dagar. Very slow and meditative raga, each note perfect.

Z.M. Dagar at Amazon

You might also like Alan Hovhaness' Shalimar.

Shalimar at Amazon

Another genre that can do this thing is the medieval a capella mass and motet. The Tallis Scholars, The Clerk's Group, the Huelgas Ensemble are superb performers.

Morales by Tallis

The above disc is slightly on the austere and Apollonian side but IMHO gorgeous. Try their Lobo Requiem too.

The Clerk's Group's Ockeghem Requiem picked up awards. They have done a lot of Ockeghem and the following disc is truly a Best Of:

Essential Ockeghem by the Clerks

The Huelgas Ensemble are at present my favourite performers of the genre. This disc may be hard to get but it is worth it:

Huelgas: Pipelare's Homme Armé

I haven't even mentioned Josquin des Prez who is perhaps the greatest composer of all.

Great thread!
Hi everyone

Thanks for your responses. I'm definitely going to busy tracking all this stuff down!

Please keep the suggestions coming,
Thanks and kind regards
Mickey sg: You are talking about some of my very favorite music; tonal and non-serialist 20th century avant garde and minimalist works. I am so happy to suggest these things, and many more if you email me. Keep in mind that it is hard to select a short list, so I am trying to limit it to a few 'essentials'.

1. Morton Feldman "Coptic Light" (Michael Tilson Thomas version) and the CRI masters release of "Music of Morton Feldman" (with the composer conducting and on piano)
2. Toru Takemitsu solo piano (Rodger Woodward version, but NOT the re-issue which has the best pieces missing)
3. Luigi Nono "Das atmende klarsin" (col legno 31871)
4. Jon Gibson "Two solo pieces" (exquisite)
5. Terry Riley "Descending Moonshine Dervishes"
6. John Adams "Shaker Loops" (string quartet version, not over-blown orchestral version)

Email me for more. I live for this stuff
If you really want to go out there in minimalism, try Alvin Lucier and Phil Niblock. They are pure tonal minimalists (as opposed to Reich and Glass who are rhythmic minimalists). Also Folke Rabe and some James Tenney might fall in that catagory. You can get all of this on CD, but it is really hard to get on LP.

By the way, I detest Philip Glass, but I love Steve Reich. His "Octet" is one of my all-time favorites.

Maybe also try the more accessible and less annoying John Cage pieces, like the early solo piano stuff. There is a comp called "In a landsacpe" (Stephen Drury performing) which I am fairly confident you would like (based on what you have written).
Mick, I suggest you open up a account and set up a "John Adams" station. This is the best way I've found to find music that "sounds like" other artists that I like.