SUNDAY At Walt Disney Concert Hall - Adams Conducts Adams: A Flowering Tree

One of Minimalism’s shaping spirits, John Adams is a composer of distinctive stylistic élan. He made an early decision to break with the modernist aesthetic prevailing in post-war Europe and U.S. academia, launching a vigorous exploration of Minimalism infused with American vernacular influences. This Friday and Sunday the LA PHIL Presents: Adams Conducts Adams- In the 2000-year-old South Indian folk tale A Flowering Tree, a beautiful young girl devises a plan to help her impoverished family: she transforms herself into a tree, from which she and her sister gather the fragrant flowers, weave them into garlands, and sell them at the marketplace. They carefully perform the ritual, which requires two pitchers of water for the girl to turn into the tree, and two pitchers of water for her to turn back into human form. A prince from the nearby palace spies on her and wants her for his wife. After their wedding, the prince commands the girl to metamorphose for him. She complies, but his sister watches from a hiding place and, envious of her sister-in-law’s powers, forces the girl to perform the ceremony for a group of her friends. After the girl turns into a tree, however, they break her branches, tear off her flowers, and abandon her, without helping her turn back into human shape. She languishes in a netherworld, not quite tree, not quite human.

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