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Adams based this all-instrumental work on his opera Doctor Atomic. The New York Times wrote: "[T]he score invites you to hear the music—driving passages with pounding timpani, quizzically restrained lyrical flights, bursts of skittish fanfares—on its own terms, apart from its dramatic context." This first recording, by David Robertson and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, includes 2001's Guide to Strange Places, which the Guardian calls "one of Adams's most impressive achievements of the last decade." The Times of London has named this album the Classical Album of the Decade.