• John Luther Adams
  • Earth and the Great Weather (1993)
    (A Sonic Geography of the Arctic)

  • Taiga Press (BMI) (World)

Libretto (English, Iñupiaq, Gwich'in, and Latin) by John Luther Adams; Iñupiaq translations by James Nageak and Doreen Simmonds; Gwich'in translations by Adeline Peter Raboff and Lincoln Tritt

  • 4perc/str(
  • 4 Sopranos, 4 Altos, 4 Basses, 4 speaking voices (1 male, 2 female); 4perc/vn.va.vc.db/electronics and digital delay
  • 4 Sopranos, 4 Altos, 4 Basses, 4 speaking voices (1 male, 2 female)
  • 1 hr 30 min

Programme Note

Earth and the Great Weather is a journey through the physical, cultural, and spiritual landscapes of the Arctic, in music, language, and sound. The text (in English, Iñupiaq, Gwich'in, and Latin) is composed of the names of places, plants, weather, and the seasons of the Arctic, as well as vocalise. Three drum quartets are interspersed throughout the work and are inspired by the elemental power of natural forces in the Arctic and by the ecstatic energy of Alaska Native drumming and dancing.

My music has always been profoundly influenced by the natural world and a strong sense of place. Earth and the Great Weather explores the territory of “sonic geography”… a region that exists somewhere between place and culture, between human imagination and the world around us.

In this work, I aspire to move beyond simple landscape painting in music, toward a music which, in a very real sense, is landscape – a music which creates its own inherently sonic presence and sense of place. I hope to take the listener on an extended journey through strange and beautiful landscapes, embracing places both imaginary and real.

Indigenous peo-ples have long understood the extraordinary powers of certain landscapes. For those of us who have lost or forgotten our intimate connections with such places, the Arctic is a vast and enduring geography of hope. Somewhere out in that far country of imagination and desire lie the roots of my own faith.

Earth and the Great Weather is dedicated to my wife, Cynthia.

…until our ashes blow together across the tundra…

John Luther Adams