Friday, February 17, 2006

Philip Glass

Perhaps it's unprofessional of me to post about another giant of minimalism on the heels of Steve Reich, but Phillip Glass is agruably the OTHER greatest living composer, and is equally responsible for modern minimalism. His music, though technically in the same genre as Steve Reich, sounds strikingly different. Phillip Glass takes a few chords, a rhythmic pattern, and a simplistic melody and repeats them, in a sort of droning "theme and variations" structure. Some people find him boring, but there are many who find his works beautiful and thought-provoking. Personally, I can't get into his more experimental works - like arpeggiated fifths for almost 30 minutes - but his best records achieve a sort of lyrical hypnotism; the melody is repeated so many times that it's almost shocking when the variation comes.

Here is Glass's "breakout" record; the one most people are familiar with and a cornerstone of the minimalist movement: Glassworks

This is my favorite Philip Glass album, just him and a piano. I had the good fortune of seeing him perform several pieces from this album live. Solo Piano


At February 18, 2006, Anonymous Andy said...

First bought this during the mercifully brief cassette tape era. Never played it much, but heard pieces on the radio or in discerning retail outlets. Identifiable in an instant; meditative but stubborn; lovely and mysterious music. The same qualities I heard almost 20 years ago. Thanks for posting it.

At February 19, 2006, Anonymous Nathan Gillingham said...

All I knew of Philip Glass was the soundtrack to Koyanasqatsi, I'm really enjoying Glass Works, thanks for providing brilliant music!

At February 22, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent Blog, très bons choix musicaux, continuez !

At June 23, 2006, Blogger stephen said...

It's really weird hearing this without Allen Ginsburg's voice, a la Hydrogen Jukebox - a lot of these piano tracks must have been "reused" on that opera.


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