Ten is the number of monumentality: at least over at Nonesuch Records, which has released a 10-disc set of Steve Reich, one of the Kronos Quartet, and is now releasing one of John Adams in coming weeks. The Kronos had a lot of unknown repertoire chomping at the bit to be heard, while Reich gives a feel of being near the end of a unidirectional career— and therefore one predictable in trajectory if still incomplete. The Adams case is very different. Besides the fact that he is only a little over 50 yet, it's almost shocking to see a record company attempt to sum up a career whose direction still seems a mystery even to its protagonist. Once a minimalist, then a romantic, sometimes a Downtowner, now an Americana symphonist, more recently neo-Schoenbergian, Adams has played the Hamlet of late-20th-century American music. Only we're never sure whether he's going to avenge the death of modernism or the murder of new... More >>>