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Spelling mistake delays 'Doctor Atomic Symphony' CD

July 21, 2009 | 10:00 am

Atomic Classical music fans who were looking forward to the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra's world-premiere CD release of John Adams' "Doctor Atomic Symphony" on Tuesday are going to have to wait another week -- and they can thank a typo for the delay.

That's because a minor printing error at Nonesuch has caused the shipment to be pushed back to July 28. A misspelling of the conductor's name meant that the cover art had to be reprinted, resulting in the one-week postponement, according to the music company.

The first album cover (pictured) misplaced the "t" from St. Louis Symphony music director David Robertson's name.

"Doctor Atomic Symphony" is adapted by Adams from his 2005 opera "Doctor Atomic." The 25-minute piece was co-commissioned by the St. Louis Symphony, Carnegie Hall and the BBC, and had its world premiere performance August 2007 at the BBC Proms in London.

The CD recording, which is conducted by Robertson, also features Adams' 2001 "Guide to Strange Places," a 23-minute orchestral work that was inspired by an obscure French travel book on Provence.

Both pieces were recorded live in concert by the St. Louis Symphony.

"Doctor Atomic" tells the story of Robert Oppenheimer and the construction of the atom bomb during World War II. The opera is widely available on DVD in a production directed by Peter Sellars.

The symphony version is a purely instrumental arrangement (and condensation) of the opera and is divided into three movements: The Laboratory, Panic and Trinity.

For the impatient among you, an Adams fan has posted a radio broadcast of the symphony on YouTube.

 -- David Ng

Photo: cover art for the "Doctor Atomic Symphony" CD. Credit: Nonesuch