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John Adams



In the more than 30 years that John Adams has been creating music, he has managed to bridge the worlds of Minimalism, Neo-Romanticism, and popular music, incorporating elements of each into his operas and orchestral compositions.

Shaker Loops, which Adams composed in 1978, is a four-part piece for seven solo strings: three violins, one viola, two cellos, and one bass. Each instrument is assigned a "loop" of melodic material which, when heard together, results in constantly shifting play. Adams notes, "Shaker Loops differs from most other works of its kind because it sees so much change within a relatively short amount of time." The excerpt presented here, from the opening of "Shaking and Trembling," (the first section of the piece) is a frenzy of strings that furiously dart and whirl, simultaneously building dramatic tension and releasing brilliant energy.

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