Absolute Jestwikipedia
Absolute Jest is a concerto for string quartet and orchestra by the American composer John Adams.
John Adams

San Francisco Symphony

San FranciscoSan Francisco SymphonySan Francisco Symphony Orchestra
The work was commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony for the orchestra's centennial.
In May 2015, MTT and the SFS released a live recording of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture, followed by another release in August 2015 - a live audio recording of Absolute Jest and Grand Pianola Music by John Adams.

John Adams (composer)

John AdamsAdamsJohn Coolidge Adams
Absolute Jest is a concerto for string quartet and orchestra by the American composer John Adams.

Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra (Schoenberg)

Concerto for String Quartet
Other works for string quartet and orchestra have been written by John Adams, Morton Feldman, Mehdi Hosseini, Benjamin Lees, Bohuslav Martinů, Emmanuel Nunes, Julián Orbón, Gunther Schuller, Louis Spohr, and Julia Wolfe, while concertos for string quartet and wind orchestra have been written by Walter Piston, Joel Puckett, and Erwin Schulhoff.

Concerto

concertoconcerticoncertos
Absolute Jest is a concerto for string quartet and orchestra by the American composer John Adams.

String quartet

string quartetstring quartetsquartet
Absolute Jest is a concerto for string quartet and orchestra by the American composer John Adams.

Orchestra

orchestrasymphony orchestraorchestral
Absolute Jest is a concerto for string quartet and orchestra by the American composer John Adams.

Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall

Davies Symphony HallDavies AuditoriumDavies Hall
Its world premiere was given at the Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall on March 15, 2012, and was performed by the St. Lawrence String Quartet and the San Francisco Symphony under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas.

St. Lawrence String Quartet

St. LawrenceSt. Lawrence String QuartetsSt. Lawerence Quartet
Its world premiere was given at the Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall on March 15, 2012, and was performed by the St. Lawrence String Quartet and the San Francisco Symphony under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas.

Michael Tilson Thomas

Michael Tilson ThomasMTTTilson Thomas
Its world premiere was given at the Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall on March 15, 2012, and was performed by the St. Lawrence String Quartet and the San Francisco Symphony under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas.

Miami Beach, Florida

Miami BeachNeighborhood of Miami BeachMiami Beach, FL
However, after the premiere Adams heavily re-wrote the beginning of the piece; this revised version of Absolute Jest was first performed in Miami Beach on December 1, 2012, by the St. Lawrence String Quartet and the New World Symphony under the composer's direction.

New World Symphony (orchestra)

New World SymphonyNew World OrchestraNew World Symphony Orchestra
However, after the premiere Adams heavily re-wrote the beginning of the piece; this revised version of Absolute Jest was first performed in Miami Beach on December 1, 2012, by the St. Lawrence String Quartet and the New World Symphony under the composer's direction.

Movement (music)

movementsmovementthose of a symphony
Absolute Jest is composed in a single movement and has a duration of roughly 25 minutes.

Ludwig van Beethoven

BeethovenLudwig van BeethovenBeethoven’s
The concerto incorporates the music of Ludwig van Beethoven's (specifically his late string quartets, among other pieces) into Adams's original material.

Late string quartets (Beethoven)

late string quartetslate quartetsThe Late Quartets
The concerto incorporates the music of Ludwig van Beethoven's (specifically his late string quartets, among other pieces) into Adams's original material.

Igor Stravinsky

StravinskyIgor StravinskyStravinsky, Igor
Adams first conceived the idea for Absolute Jest during a performance of Igor Stravinsky's Pulcinella by Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony.

Pulcinella (ballet)

PulcinellaPulcinella Suite1933
Adams first conceived the idea for Absolute Jest during a performance of Igor Stravinsky's Pulcinella by Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony.

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi

PergolesiGiovanni Battista PergolesiPergolèse
He continued, "But there the comparison pretty much ends. Stravinsky was apparently unfamiliar with the Pergolesi and other Neapolitan tunes when Diaghilev brought them to him. I, on the other hand, had loved the Beethoven string quartets since I was a teenager, and crafting something out of fragments of Opus 131, Opus 135 and the Große Fuge (plus a few more familiar 'tattoos' from his symphonic scherzos) was a totally spontaneous act for me."

Music of Naples

NeapolitanNaplesNeapolitan songs
He continued, "But there the comparison pretty much ends. Stravinsky was apparently unfamiliar with the Pergolesi and other Neapolitan tunes when Diaghilev brought them to him. I, on the other hand, had loved the Beethoven string quartets since I was a teenager, and crafting something out of fragments of Opus 131, Opus 135 and the Große Fuge (plus a few more familiar 'tattoos' from his symphonic scherzos) was a totally spontaneous act for me."

Sergei Diaghilev

Sergei DiaghilevDiaghilevSerge Diaghilev
He continued, "But there the comparison pretty much ends. Stravinsky was apparently unfamiliar with the Pergolesi and other Neapolitan tunes when Diaghilev brought them to him. I, on the other hand, had loved the Beethoven string quartets since I was a teenager, and crafting something out of fragments of Opus 131, Opus 135 and the Große Fuge (plus a few more familiar 'tattoos' from his symphonic scherzos) was a totally spontaneous act for me."

String Quartet No. 14 (Beethoven)

String Quartet No. 14String Quartet in C sharp MinorString Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 131
He continued, "But there the comparison pretty much ends. Stravinsky was apparently unfamiliar with the Pergolesi and other Neapolitan tunes when Diaghilev brought them to him. I, on the other hand, had loved the Beethoven string quartets since I was a teenager, and crafting something out of fragments of Opus 131, Opus 135 and the Große Fuge (plus a few more familiar 'tattoos' from his symphonic scherzos) was a totally spontaneous act for me."

String Quartet No. 16 (Beethoven)

String Quartet No. 16Op. 135String Quartet op. 135
He continued, "But there the comparison pretty much ends. Stravinsky was apparently unfamiliar with the Pergolesi and other Neapolitan tunes when Diaghilev brought them to him. I, on the other hand, had loved the Beethoven string quartets since I was a teenager, and crafting something out of fragments of Opus 131, Opus 135 and the Große Fuge (plus a few more familiar 'tattoos' from his symphonic scherzos) was a totally spontaneous act for me."

Große Fuge

Grosse FugeGrosse FugueOp. 133
He continued, "But there the comparison pretty much ends. Stravinsky was apparently unfamiliar with the Pergolesi and other Neapolitan tunes when Diaghilev brought them to him. I, on the other hand, had loved the Beethoven string quartets since I was a teenager, and crafting something out of fragments of Opus 131, Opus 135 and the Große Fuge (plus a few more familiar 'tattoos' from his symphonic scherzos) was a totally spontaneous act for me."

Scherzo

scherzoscherzischerzo and trio
He continued, "But there the comparison pretty much ends. Stravinsky was apparently unfamiliar with the Pergolesi and other Neapolitan tunes when Diaghilev brought them to him. I, on the other hand, had loved the Beethoven string quartets since I was a teenager, and crafting something out of fragments of Opus 131, Opus 135 and the Große Fuge (plus a few more familiar 'tattoos' from his symphonic scherzos) was a totally spontaneous act for me."

Bar (music)

barbarsmeasure
The composer thus began re-writing the opening of Absolute Jest six months after its world premiere, resulting in 400 bars of completely new material.

Latin

LatinLat.Latin language
In regards to the title of the piece, he wrote, "The 'jest' of the title should be understood in terms of its Latin meaning, 'gesta:' doings, deeds, exploits. I like to think of 'jest' as indicating an exercising of one's wit by means of imagination and invention."