Harmonium by John Adams. Not that John Adams.
September 14, 2012 4:05 PM   Subscribe

(Classical Music Filter) Any idea what this album I listened to in 1973 was?

I'm looking for a vinyl LP that was released before 1974, probably in 1971 or 1972. The names I seem remember are "John Adams" and "Harmonium," but it's not John Luther Adams' Harmonium release from 1980; the only thing I'm sure of is that I listened to this album in 1973.

The music was defined at the time as classical music. I'm pretty sure it was pleasant solo piano (or organ?) in a minimalist or proto-new age vein. The front cover was almost all white, with the artist name and album title in a serif font.

A long shot, I know, but I've been searching for years with no luck. Thanks.
posted by chocolatepeanutbuttercup to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Could it be this John Adams' Harmonium? Album art looks like a match....
posted by pwnee at 5:10 PM on September 14, 2012

Thanks, but no. The music was much simpler, not orchestral, and the year was 1973 - this was released in 1984.

I should say I could be wrong about the "John Adams" part, but I'm fairly certain the title was something like "Harmonium" or "Harmonia."
posted by chocolatepeanutbuttercup at 5:34 PM on September 14, 2012

There was a prog rock band from Quebec called Harmonium around that time
posted by canoehead at 6:05 PM on September 14, 2012

Nope, not them either. Thanks, though.
posted by chocolatepeanutbuttercup at 6:53 PM on September 14, 2012

I think you might be wrong about the dates or the artist. John-Adams-the-pop-maximalist's "Harmonium" album is from '80, but I don't see one by that name by the new-to-me John Luther Adams.

Now, to me, "minimalist" and "proto New Age" are kind of oppositional. Was it droney and nice or staccato and repetitive? Windham Hill had cover art that could be a match, but they didn't come around until the mid-70s.
posted by rhizome at 7:53 PM on September 14, 2012

Penguin Cafe Orchestra was active from 1972 onward, and is responsible for "Music for a Found Harmonium" and I just wonder if that points you in a helpful direction? I have no idea.
posted by jph at 7:53 PM on September 14, 2012

Ran this by a friend of mine who is almost-a-musicologist; she thinks you may have two memories crossed, and suggests that you may be thinking of Philip Glass, possibly Music in Similar Motion. Worth a shot?
posted by KathrynT at 8:55 PM on September 14, 2012

Could it possibly be the band Harmonia? They're great!

Here are some pix of their album sleeves. Might jog your memory.
posted by ZipRibbons at 12:51 AM on September 15, 2012

I very well could be wrong about the artist's name or the album title, but the date I listened was absolutely, positively, definitely 1973.

All I remember about the sound was that it was simple, probably solo piano or organ. It was melodic and not particularly avant garde for the time. The more I think about it, it wasn't minimalist, because I would have found that very weird at the time.

It wasn't Music For A Found Harmonium.

It wasn't Philip Glass.

It wasn't Harmonia. It was definitely by a single artist, male.

Thanks, everybody, I appreciate your efforts.
posted by chocolatepeanutbuttercup at 3:57 AM on September 15, 2012

Here's a list of John (Coolidge; Luther is different) Adams's works, including Harmonium and Harmonielehre, if it is in fact something by him, but those 2 are both from after '74.
posted by mlle valentine at 7:11 AM on September 15, 2012

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