Review: New York Philharmonic Journeys From Ocean to Desert
The orchestras final program of the season featured the New York premiere of John Luther Adamss Become Desert.
Ostensibly, the New York Philharmonics final two programs of the season were about the earth. But they served more to illustrate the challenge composers face in translating the climate crisis to music.
Last week at David Geffen Hall, Julia Wolfes new multimedia oratorio, unEarth, took an explicitly activist stance, lashing out at ecological violence and offering a path to recovery. On Thursday, John Luther Adamss Become Desert, in its New York premiere, addressed the natural world more humbly mourning, perhaps, the desertification of environments, but also evoking, marveling at and bowing down to forces larger than ourselves.
The approach you prefer can be a matter of taste; I find observation more persuasive. Take this week. As smoke from Canadian wildfires drifted to New York, you could read that the citys air quality was the worst on record, and understand the severity, but a step outside would reveal even more: a burning in your eyes and throat, an unrecognizable view of streets and parks obscured by an orange haze.