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Alon Shmuel
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I traveled to London to see Einstein. I wish I could do the same for Akhnaten, it looks like a great production :-(
Toggle Commented Mar 9, 2016 on ENO's Akhnaten: In Review at Glass Notes
It's a great piece, one of my favorites. I remember "sending" my father to the CD store and asking for Glass' Violin Concerto. "What number?" he asked. "THE Violin Concerto", I replied (that was way back when there was only one, of course, but it's still THE Violin Concerto for me). I really like Kremer's playing on the "original" recording - it's filled with energy and "edge" (even a bit dissonant sometimes). I have to admit that I sometimes "air-violin" when hearing him. However, the orchestra is a joke - it seems like they're sight reading and the result borders with a parody (the recording quality is not so good either - DG???). I've heard a recording of a performance by Kremer, Russell Davies and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, which is great (although Kremer's performance is not as fierce here). I agree that the most balanced recording is by McDuffie, which is probably the first choice for a newcomer.
Sometimes it's exciting like meeting an old friend (Satyagraha in The Hours soundtrack for example, or Roving Mars). Sometimes it feels like a rip off (The Toltec Symphony - too many commissions, too little time...)
Toggle Commented Feb 15, 2016 on Musical Re-Use at Glass Notes
Thank you Richard for the initiative. It's a great idea and a miraculous execution.
After reading the comment about the Adams' piece, I can't help my self from re-posting this: The Simpson's Springfield Orchestra and its audience are less than sympathetic to the works of Philip Glass: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzlKCobWjPk (It's not in English, but can be understood easily). The program features the Springfield Orchestra playing Beethoven’s Fifth. After the opening bars, the crowd leaves. “It sounds better on my cellphone,” says series barfly Lenny. When Marge mentions that the next program features an atonal medley by Philip Glass, even the orchestra joins the fleeing hall. Facing bankruptcy, Mr. Burns buys the building and turns it into a prison.
Toggle Commented Sep 29, 2015 on Why Erfurt? at Glass Notes
This interesting entry reminded me of two quotes from Glass. An early one: "I don't waste my time very much with worrying about working with orchestras... You get very little commitment...You get very few performances, and it's all a headache from my point of view". This of course changed, starting with the "portraits of nature" trilogy (and then with the mostly abstract symphonies), but the truth in Glass words remains: there are very few performances, and (from my limited experience) when Glass (or a "Glass champion") is not involved, the performances aren't that good either. When you play a "classic" symphony for the dozens of times, you master it. A one time performance in a musical style that is alien to (most of) the orchestra players tends to be mechanical. The second quote: "One thing that distinguishes me from other people of my generation is simply, I have more profile and that’s because I’m interested in bringing this work to the public in a very big way.  I love the fact that thousands of people come to a concert. . . .  I happen to be better known than other people because I played that game and I enjoy it.  I enjoy the game of being in the Daily News; it’s fun and I’m not afraid of it". That's an important factor in Glass' success. What will happen several decades from now, when Glass is not around to promote his music? Are there going to be new "Glass champions" that will push the music to orchestras (assuming that orchestras will survive that long)? Currently Glass symphonies can fill the requirement for "contemporary" works in the repertoire, but soon they won't be contemporary anymore, and they'll have to compete with Beethoven on the same level, while the debt to contemporary music will be filled by active composers. Will Glass orchestral music survive that? I'm not sure. I think that chamber works such as string quartets and solo piano pieces have a greater chance to continue to live and evolve in live performances. It's not that bad really: the Beatles haven't played live in 50 years, but I think it's a sure bet that their music will still be listened to in 50 years time, thanks to the recordings. That's why the Orange Mountain Music releases are so important. With the orchestral output of Glass, most of the recordings are fine and are a good heritage for future generations (especially after the release of the new recording of the 1st symphony, which leaves only the 2nd one in a dire need for a new recording, alone with the butchered Satyagraha). (BTW, there's a 35 pages article by Jeremy Grimshaw called "High, "Low," and Plastic Arts: Philip Glass and the Symphony in the Age of Postproduction" in The Musical Quarterly from Autumn 2002 analyzing the original Point recording of the Low symphony, I wonder what are its conclusions). The same goes for the PGE early works (the re-recordings, even by the PGE itsef, never matched the original recordings). The important soundtracks will be well preserved together with the movies, so it seems that the only real problem will be for the operas, for which a sound recording is not a full substitute. I wonder if Glass himself is worried about the fate of his music 50 years from now. I remember him saying that he doesn't care, but that was many many years ago.
Toggle Commented Sep 29, 2015 on Why Erfurt? at Glass Notes
The Springfield Orchestra is less sympathetic to the works of Philip Glass; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzlKCobWjPk (It's not in English, but one can understand it anyway). The opening program features the Springfield Orchestra (its only appearance in the series) playing Beethoven’s Fifth. After the opening bars, the crowd leaves. “It sounds better on my cellphone,” says series barfly Lenny. When Marge mentions that the next program features an atonal medley by Philip Glass, even the orchestra joins the fleeing hall. Facing bankruptcy, Mr. Burns buys the building and turns it into a prison.
Fascinating! It was quite a surprising release, and the packaging was very nice. I think Glass' first mature composition for children is this one from Sesame Street: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTHiYsP1cAY (I think it's also the first one to feature percussion, except for 1+1 maybe)
I remember the good old days when every release caused an excitement. I bought everyone of them, even CD's with just 1 Glass piece (for example the Duke's quartet recording of String Quartet 1 or Kronos' Company). Not to mention every piano recording of PG music (Metamorphosis, what else...). Nowadays one has to choose, and it's hard. I love different interpretations of Glass' late music - the recordings of the violin concertos are really different one from another, and I'm sure that the Etudes recordings will also be diverse. But 7 new releases in one month, most of them seem interesting, that's way too many for me. And I'm sure that the next months will bring out more crop. But these are good troubles, I hope they'll continue. Thank you for all this! BTW1 - "Spuren der Verirrten" is not listed in the recordings in Philipglass.com BTW2 - Pleeeeeease, release a new recording of Satyagraha. The original recording does injustice to this master piece. Is there a recording from the Metropolitan production? I guess that recordings of the "lost" operas (for example the Doris Lessing's ones) were not made, and future productions seem unlikely.
Thanks Jose! I wonder why Glass chose to list this opera in his book...
Toggle Commented May 23, 2015 on Music Without Words - Now at iTunes at Glass Notes
I've just finished reading the "Opera" chapter. In the end of the chapter, Glass lists a few of his operas (probably those that mean more to him), among those is the opera Mattogrosso (1989). I have never heard of this opera, it is not listed in the philipglass.com compositions list, and Google returns no results. How odd...
Toggle Commented Apr 29, 2015 on Music Without Words - Now at iTunes at Glass Notes
According to Amazon, the hardcove edition amounts to 288 pages, but I believe that you're more reliable. It's a pity that the 2000's aren't covered in this book, but still - it will be an interesting read.
Only 288 pages to cover the body of work from the beginning in the 1950's to the recent past? That's Minimalism! (I apologize for using the M*** word). Anyway, this would be one of the rare cases in which I'll buy the hard cover edition instead of the e-book.
The NY times link is broken, but never mind that. I've pre-ordered the music this morning and got my #11. Beautiful! I wish I could by in NYC this December...
Very nice! Will we have a CD for Xmas ?
Toggle Commented Oct 15, 2014 on The Trial - REVIEWS at Glass Notes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZR31UVZcfo4
The new recording of the Low symphony is so much better than the original one. I always thought that this symphony was a mediocre work, but I completely changed my mind after hearing this performance. It's amazing! Davies changed the rhythm and emphasises and completely changed the piece. I made the mistake of buying this recording, I won't repeat it with the new recording of the Heroes symphony, unfortunately.
With OMM, it never rains - it pours! BTW, are there any other archive recordings due for release (Usher, Making the representative for plant 8 etc?)
Toggle Commented Jun 21, 2014 on Comments on recent OMM Releases at Glass Notes
What a great anecdote !
Toggle Commented Jun 21, 2014 on Schickele & Glass at Glass Notes
The negative review. Ok, the piece was excellent. The dancers, singers and actors were mostly brilliant. I saw the show twice (on the 11th and the 13th of May, in the Barbican in London). How come the spaceship was missing from dance 2 ("Field/Spaceship" scene)? Where was the flying man in the Spaceship scene? I mean, would one consider excluding the flute and piccolo parts in the music because of technical problems? The visuals are as important as the music, and should be honored as such. From the technical side, things weren't smooth even on the opera's last Barbican performance: the light beam in Bed swayed to the right and the left during its ascent, the missile jerked around and its flight was anything but smooth (in the Spaceship scene). They had enough time to put things right, this isn't the first "cheap" production of Einstein where no one knew exactly what they're doing, there's no excuse this time. (I also believe that the PGE "train wrecked" the music twice, during the Night Train and Dance 2 scenes, but maybe it's just my hearing or my memory). Now to the subjective criticism. Musically, the interpretation was mostly like the 1992 recording, although the lead singer in the Bed aria used less vibrato, thanks god, but we still had the "Jazzy" sax solo in Building, instead of Jon Gibson's brilliant original solo, and the Paris speech was replaced by the lame "All man are equal" one. This sound design lacks "bite", but maybe i'm just too conservative. I don't know if the missile and the silk screen describing an atomic explosion (from Spaceship) are new additions or were part of the original production, but I find that they don't go well with the "abstract-ness" of the work. Having said all that, it's still a must see, and I hope that the technical problems will be fixed in the next productions.
Toggle Commented May 15, 2012 on Einstein hits London at Glass Notes
The positive review. Wow, I've waited for this since 1988, the first time that I heard the opening notes of Einstein (it was on a night bus, on rainy night, on a cheap white bass-less Walkman). So, 25 years of waiting came to a rewarding end. I saw a Robert Wilson production once (one in the DDD series), but it didn't prepare me for this brilliant spectacle. All the ingredients (music, choreography, lighting) melted into one amazing "thing". 4 1/2 hours passed quickly, twice. A word of advice for future viewers. I saw EOTB twice, once from a seat right in the center of the row, and once 7 chairs to the left. Keep to the middle! It's amazing how several visuals just don't work when you're not viewing them directly from the center (except for the spaceship scene, which was a bit better from the left, due to the "man in black" light dance). It's a must see for everyone, and especially for Glass fans.
Toggle Commented May 15, 2012 on Einstein hits London at Glass Notes
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May 15, 2012