Comparison of Foer and Adams

What struck me most about what Adams said about his composition “On the Transmigration of Souls” was how he used the children’s chorus in his piece unlike other composers have; that is, instead of using their voices to echo their innocence, Adams put them “in the thick of things”, as he said. In that way, Adams expressed the idea that not even children were spared from the horrors of September 11th, which is a theme that Foer also explored in his work, with Oskar being only a young boy and having to deal with such tragedy. I also thought it was interesting that the soloists in Adams’ piece were a nine year old boy, like Oskar, and two middle aged women, like Oskar’s mother and grandmother.

Another thing that struck me was how poignantly both works make one remember what occurred on September 11th, and how even though it is painful to remember, it’s important never to forget. In both Adams and Foer’s works, memory is an important theme. In Foer’s book, Oskar is on a quest in memory of his father, to understand and come to terms with his father’s death. Adams’ piece, composed of the names of those who died in the towers and quotes from missing person’s signs, is a tribute to the memory of those who perished. It makes the listener remember that it was individuals who died, each with their own story.