Premiered in March 2019 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and recorded later last year in November in a world premiere recording, Gustavo Dudamel and LA Philharmonic are joined by pianist Yuja Wang for this over 25-minute new composition by John Adams from 2018 that was also commissioned by the orchestra. The work was inspired by an article with the same title about Dorothy Day in the New Yorker. Adams has noted: “That’s a good title just waiting for a piece. The phrase suggested a ‘Totentanz’, only not of the Lisztian manner, but more of a funk-invested American-style.” The composition received wonderful reviews. The LA Times wrote: “It’s true, the ‘Devil’ is up to his old tricks. But what a devil! And what tricks!” The Washington Post agreed with Adams about his reference to a ‘Totentanz’: “This is a city piece: all steel girders and glass monoliths, pounding factory rhythms and fatally seductive temptations around every corner — very much the modern-day equivalent of a Lisztian “Totentanz” that Adams has said he was aiming to create…” The newspaper compared the work to "a Prokofiev-style piano concerto, retrofitted with minimalist rhythmic cells, bebop bursts of brass and ironic commentary from a sampled, out-of-tune, honky-tonk piano… driving syncopations and a riot of orchestral color building to a satisfying finish”.
The album is released as a digital audio album today April 17 and on LP in audio and as a visual streaming album on August 21.