Performance Today®

John Adams: Gnarly Buttons

Upper joint of a Bohm system clarinetWikimedia Commons

September 07, 2021

American composer John Adams wrote a piece for clarinetist Michael Collins: "Gnarly Buttons." That unusual title is a half joking reference to how difficult it is to play the clarinet, which has all those difficult keys on it, those... gnarly buttons. On today's show, hear Michael Collins and members of the Minnesota Orchestra play this fun, yet emotional piece of music.

Episode Playlist

Hour 1

Hildegard von Bingen: O ignee Spiritus
Album: Freedom and Faith
Briight Shiny Things

Nina Simone: Young Gifted and Black
Album: Freedom and Faith
Bright Shiny Things

Nina Rota: Harp Concerto
Shi Qin , harp
National Ballet of China Symphony Orchestra | Zhang Yi, conductor
National Centre for the Performing Arts Concert Hall, Beijing, China

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Trio elegiaque No. 1 in G minor
Lysander Piano Trio
Cooperstown Summer Music Festival, Otesaga Resort Hotel Ballroom, Cooperstown, NY

Shelley Washington: Middleground
Album: Freedom and Faith
Bright Shiny Things

Hour 2

Emile Sauret: Scenes Villageoises, Op. 50 Movement 2 Pastorale
Michi Wiancko, violin | Dina Vainshtein, piano
Album: Sauret: Music for Violin and Piano
Naxos 8572366

Michi Wiancko: "La Follia" Variations for String Orchestra (after Francesco Geminiani)
East Coast Chamber Orchestra
Album: East Coast Chamber Orchestra
Koch 7784

John Adams: Gnarly Buttons for Clarinet and Small Orchestra
Michael Collins, clarinet
Minnesota Orchestra | Osmo Vanska, conductor
Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis, MN

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Vocalise for Cello and Piano
Zuill Bailey, cello | Michael Butterman, piano
Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, Brungard Aviation Hangar, Boulder, CO