I listened to the streaming audio of Tuesday evening's premiere of John Adams's Doctor Atomic Symphony, part of a Proms concert by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Mr. Adams. The program began with a flabby and indifferent account of Aaron Copland's Billy the Kid, and continued with a performance of Mr. Adams's Century Rolls, for piano and orchestra, with Olli Mustonen as soloist. Mr. Mustonen was an able soloist and the accompaniment was crisp and precise.
The main event of the concert was, of course, the premiere. I have to say again, for the record, that I don't get John Adams's music. It doesn't speak to me. There are moment in almost every piece of his that I've heard (and I've probably given him more chances than any other composer) that resonate, but they are far and few between (as Stevie Wonder put it), and not big enough to make a whole movement or composition work for me. This was true of the new Symphony--there's an extended passage in the first movement that is reminiscent of the last movement in the Stravinsky Symphony in Three Movements, but not as telling, and the trumpet solo near the end is very fine.
Many people whose ears I respect continue to sing the praises of John Adams, and I'll still listen to him. As always, my reaction to him says more about me than it does the music.