The Harrison and Adams works have a sort of new world, folk-like quality. Indeed the mature Harrison was a real pioneer in this realm and Adams gives us music here from a period (1995) where he was working in parallel modes.
In all we are treated to six works, five in first recordings. For two of the Harrison pieces ("Harp Suite #2" and "In Honor of the Divine Mr. Handel") they are joined by the HMC American Gamelan for an increased and nicely "exotic" sonic stage.
Harrison's works cross a broad span of time, from 1951 to 1992. They are wonderful examples of his diatonic, archaic world miniatures and his way with the harp. Both Harp Suites provide a wealth of Harrison, early to late. His short "Lyric Phrases" (1972) and the work honoring Handel (1991) give us further insight into his special sonances.
Both Adams works, "Five Athabascan Dances" and "Five Yu'pik Dances," fit with the Harrison works perfectly and show an equally earthy directness.
Just Strings give us definitive readings of the music, with considerable spirit. The HMC American Gamelan thrive on this music, too.
It is a volume that wins the day by a lyrical panache and an authentic straightforwardness that characterize Harrison at his best, but then show us an Adams who communicates equally well in this realm. It is a beauty of an album on all fronts.
Lovers of world-archaic new music modernism will find this highly worthy. Virtually anyone should find fascination here. Get the album!