In May 2006, Leonard Cohen published his first collection of poetry in 22 years, Book of Longing, having previously used some of the material as songs on his most recent albums, Ten New Songs (2001) and Dear Heather (2004). The book touched on many of the themes he had explored throughout his writing career, including spirituality (he had spent part of his time between books as a postulant at a Buddhist monastery), eroticism, and self-deprecating humor. On June 1, 2007, at the Luminato Festival in Toronto, Ontario, composer Philip Glass premiered his song cycle based on Book of Longing, which is here given a two-CD recording. Cohen is present on the album speaking (not singing) some of his poems, and Glass also has set some of them to music, with singing by a soprano (Dominique Plaisant), a mezzo-soprano (Tara Hugo), a tenor (Will Erat), and a bass-baritone (Daniel Keeling).
Pianist and composer Anton Batagov is one of the most influential Russian musicians of our time. As a performer Batagov introduced the music of John Cage, Morton Feldman, Steve Reich, and Philip Glass to Russian audiences. On this his debut recording with Glass s record label Orange Mountain Music, Batagov offers a recital of Glass s music which is personally important to him, music which has never been heard on solo piano. Three of the four tracks offered on Batagov s program are from Glass s epic opera Einstein on the Beach - Trial, Night Train, and Knee Play 5. These pieces capture the sound of a particularly expansive moment in Glass s career as he transitioned from hard core Minimalism to a more expressive medium. That artistic pivot is captures in Batagov s mystical reading of Prophecies from Koyaanisqatsi. In 2009, after a hiatus of 12 years from live performance Batagov returned to the stage presenting a series of unique solo programs including this program which was recorded in Moscow in November 2015.
This program reverses time, revealing the Metamorphosis in Glass’s work from his 1980s film and theatre transcriptions, through The Olympian composed for the Los Angeles Olympiad, to rarities such as the dream-like Coda. The Trilogy Sonata highlights Glass’s renowned operas from the celebratory Akhnaten Dance to the stately Satyagraha and landmark Einstein on the Beach. The dazzling pulse-patterns of Two Pages make it a milestone of minimalism, while the Sonatina No. 2 is a pre-minimalist work composed when Glass was a student of Darius Milhaud at Juilliard.
Two world premiere recordings of pieces for cello by Philip Glass are paired on this debut solo recording by the American Wendy Sutter. The first, Songs and Poems for solo cello, composed for her last year, emphasises the singing quality of the instrument (here she plays on the renowned “ex Vatican Stradivarius”) while Tissues, written originally for Godfrey Reggio’s celebrated film Naqoyqatsi but not used in the final cut, also features percussionist David Cossin and Glass himself on piano.
The fact that Philip Glass' music stands up so well in a variety of arrangements is a testament to its durability. German composer and pianist/organist Steffen Schleiermacher offers a recital of two dances from Dance, Glass' monumental 1979 multimedia collaboration with choreographer Lucinda Childs and visual artist Sol Lewitt, arranged for organ, and Sonata, a transcription for piano of one section from each of Glass' three portrait operas, made by Paul Barnes. The dances, which frame the Sonata on the CD, are especially effective when performed on the organ, due to the grandeur of which the organ is capable, its ability to sustain notes without decay, and the fact that its sound is closely related to the electronic keyboards used in the original. There is more of a sonic leap from the wind and electronic sounds of Einstein on the Beach and the orchestras of Satyagraha and Akhnaten to a solo piano.
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.
From the Philip Glass Archive is a series of releases from Orange Mountain Music which seeks to document archival and unreleased material or reissue classic albums by Philip Glass. The current volume, the sixth, features a collaboration between Glass and African musician Foday Musa Suso from a score they both worked on in the 1990s. The work was incidental music to the play The Screens by Jean Genet and was directed by JoAnne Akalaitis. Glass described the collaboration as the closest thing he had come to at that point of a true collaboration with both artists contributing original pieces and both working on many in the score together. The Screens was originally released on Point Music in the late 1990s. Orange Mountain Music is also pleased to present this remastered version with the inclusion of two bonus tracks of Philip Glass and Foday Musa Suso LIVE, recorded in New York in 2009.