This elegantly packaged 10 disc retrospective surveys four decades of work by Philip Glass, from his earliest solo pieces to his world-renowned operas to his Oscar-nominated film scores. In music, words and pictures, it traces the evolution, as critic Tim Page puts it in his liner notes essay, of 'the first composer to win a wide, multi-generational audience in the opera house, the concert hall, the dance world, in film and in popular music-simultaneously.' The long-awaited release of this set follows this past spring's triumphal new staging of Glass's 1980 Satyagraha at the Metropolitan Opera House…
The Essential Philip Glass is a three-disc 2012 compilation not to be confused with the single-disc 1993 album, The Essential Philip Glass. The tracks from both are taken from previous Sony releases. Two of the discs of the 2012 set are made up of single tracks from a number of albums, including Songs from Liquid Days, Glassworks, the film score Naqoyqatsi, the ballet In the Upper Room, and the choral-orchestral piece Itaipu. Stylistically the music represents a fairly narrow range in Glass' career; all the music except for Naqoyqatsi is from the 1980s. There is variety in the musical forces used; the Philip Glass Ensemble led by Michael Riesman figures prominently, but there are also pieces that use chorus, vocalists, and piano. Linda Ronstadt, Yo-Yo Ma, the Kronos Quartet, and Glass himself are among the distinguished soloists.
Philip Glass' opera from 2009 explores the life of scientist Johannes Kepler though a series of dramatic scenes with two hours of Glass' music. Kepler in many ways hearkens back to Glass' portrait operas of the early 1980s and continues the composers interest in scientists after having also written operas on Einstein and Galileo. The opera premiered at the Landestheater Linz in 2009 as part of Linz 09, the European Cultural Capital, and continues the amazing 30 year collaboration between Glass and the conductor Dennis Russell Davies, the music director of both the Landestheater Linz and its orchestra, the Bruckner Orchester Linz who has also recorded Glass' music extensively for the Orange Mountain Music label including Glass Symphonies 6, 7, and 8, and Glass' large scale opera The Voyage which was originally written for the Metropolitan Opera.
The Grand Master of minimal music, here portrayed with a cross-section of his major works - including his three undertook a "Portrait Trilogy" became known operas, each one of the personalities of contemporary violence: Akhenaten, Einstein and Gandhi
Include recopilation works from: 'Akhnaten' 'Einstein on the beach' 'Itaipu' 'Songs from liquid days'' "The photographer'…
The works in this programme demonstrate Philip Glass’s perpetual goal of connecting with his audience. Taking shape as something like a hidden sonata form, Mad Rush contrasts peaceful atmosphere with tempestuousness and mesmerizing beauty. The last of its kind in Glass’s oeuvre, 600 Lines, here receiving its première recording on solo piano, is an obsessive and hypnotically restless toccata that represents the zenith of his experiences while working with Ravi Shankar. These two monumental works are joined by première recordings of the subtly transformed Metamorphosis 2, and Glass’s only transcription in the form of Paul Simon’s The Sound of Silence.
The usual stuff is here: arpeggio versus ostinato, ostinato versus arpeggio. And as always, the Philip Glass Ensemble's synthesizers double their woodwinds. But Glassworks is the most pleasant craftwork ever from the great minimalist exploiter – six warm pieces that approach the spirit of minimalist pioneer Erik Satie. Only instead of Satie's lyrical-to-antic jumps, Glass creates the ruminative-to-excitable kind. "Opening"'s softly rolled piano melody is music to fold your hands and muse by, and when Sharon Moe's French horn sets up "Floe," everything seems nice and level – until the flailing woodwinds and synthesizers of the ensemble crash in. Glassworks is tuneful in the most pleasingly direct sense – the arrangements define the melodies so cleanly they're instantly memorable.