Author Topic: Philip Glass  (Read 30806 times)

0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.

Offline TheGSMoeller

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 11158
  • Monkey Greg.
Re: Philip Glass
« Reply #220 on: December 01, 2016, 03:45:30 AM »
I felt like the 10th symphony was a slight disappointment, after the big, poetic statements of the 8th and 9th. I wasn't impressed by the fact that he re-hashed old material for the work. Here's hoping he gets back to good form in the upcoming Symphony No. 11.

If anyone's interested, there are some great, detailed notes here on all the symphonies:

http://dunvagen.com/d/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/SymphonyBox_NOTES.pdf

I'll try to get round to posting a 'favourite works' list for Phil. There'd be so many to choose from.  8)

Hi, KGoing, I started a thread of favorite Glass works, hasn't gotten much traffic though...

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,26070.msg988668.html#msg988668

Thanks for the notes on the symphonies, will read later for sure.

Keep Going

  • Guest
Re: Philip Glass
« Reply #221 on: December 04, 2016, 02:05:08 AM »
Hi, KGoing, I started a thread of favorite Glass works, hasn't gotten much traffic though...

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,26070.msg988668.html#msg988668

Thanks for the notes on the symphonies, will read later for sure.

Hi GSM - thanks for the link.

I'll try and get round to posting a list, although keeping it down to 5 will be a tricky one!

Offline TheGSMoeller

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 11158
  • Monkey Greg.
Re: Philip Glass
« Reply #222 on: March 09, 2017, 11:26:10 AM »
Four months away from this event. Bought a ticket for my lifelong friend, also a Glass fan, to meet me in NY for the concert.
Here's the program from the CH website...

Bruckner Orchestra Linz
Dennis Russell Davies, Music Director
Angelique Kidjo, Vocals

ALL-PHILIP GLASS PROGRAM
Days and Nights in Rocinha
Ifé: Three Yorùbá Songs (NY Premiere)
Symphony No. 11 (World Premiere)

A fantastic evening! Philip was in attendence and even sitting in the box directly below us. When Davies first arrived at the podium he turned our way and bowed, a spotlight appeared and I became very confused. Leaned over and saw the top of Glass' head, was really cool  considering he's like a rock star to me.
The concert itself was perfect. Rochina was beautifully played. I own this on record but hearing it live, and especially with Carnegie's acoustics, was special. The Three Songs was a NY premiere, and a first time hearing it for me as well. The soloist, Kidjo, was sublime.
The real treat was the world premiere of the 11th. Very similar in structure to his previous symphonies nos.2 and 9 with three movements. It required 8 percussionists, harps, keyboards and full orchestra. I thought the piece was exhilarating, didn't really incorporate a slow movement as all three reached a full-throttle fever at many moments, although the 2nd mvt was hinting with a calmer opening. The 3rd opened with a minute or two of percussion only, very march-like that really set the tone for the constant motion that rarely seemed to let up. Musically it seemed to come closer to Glass' mid-80s to 90s period, strongly minimalistic and more thematic than melodic.
The Bruckner Linz were perfect, seeing the string players fight through constant arpeggios was a joy!
The picture is one I took from my box during the ovation after the 11th ended.


Offline Ken B

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3467
  • The Age of the Wanker is upon us
    • kenBlogic
  • Location: Canada
  • Currently Listening to:
    Canoes not battleships.
Re: Philip Glass
« Reply #223 on: March 09, 2017, 12:55:02 PM »
Welcome back Monkey Greg!

Glad it was great.

" he's like a rock star to me." Not me! I admire him!
Give a man a fire and he is warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he is warm for life.

Offline TheGSMoeller

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 11158
  • Monkey Greg.
Re: Philip Glass
« Reply #224 on: March 09, 2017, 02:50:56 PM »
Welcome back Monkey Greg!

Glad it was great.

" he's like a rock star to me." Not me! I admire him!

 ;D

howdy, Ken!

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 11200
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Philip Glass
« Reply #225 on: March 14, 2017, 12:50:17 AM »
I have some Glass and generally enjoy it. Which symphony do you consider to be his best?
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline TheGSMoeller

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 11158
  • Monkey Greg.
Re: Philip Glass
« Reply #226 on: March 14, 2017, 02:10:36 AM »
I have some Glass and generally enjoy it. Which symphony do you consider to be his best?

I find nos. 1, 3, 8 and 9 to be his best. But honestly I do enjoy them all. Once you get into some of the purely orchestral ones, like the previously mentioned four, then give his 5th a spin, about 90 mins long (2 discs) and features a full choir and soloists.

Interesting fact: Glass' didn't begin composing symphonies until he was in his 50s, he's now 80 years old.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2017, 02:17:13 AM by TheGSMoeller »

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 11200
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Philip Glass
« Reply #227 on: March 14, 2017, 03:24:03 AM »
I find nos. 1, 3, 8 and 9 to be his best. But honestly I do enjoy them all. Once you get into some of the purely orchestral ones, like the previously mentioned four, then give his 5th a spin, about 90 mins long (2 discs) and features a full choir and soloists.

Interesting fact: Glass' didn't begin composing symphonies until he was in his 50s, he's now 80 years old.
Thanks very much.  :)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline TheGSMoeller

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 11158
  • Monkey Greg.
Re: Philip Glass
« Reply #228 on: April 01, 2017, 03:58:29 AM »
In honor of Philip Glass' 80th Birthday DG has altered their 100 Great Symphonies Box Set. Added a few of his symphonies and replaced Schumann's face with the iconic portrait of Glass.

Offline TheGSMoeller

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 11158
  • Monkey Greg.
Re: Philip Glass
« Reply #229 on: May 19, 2017, 03:14:47 PM »
Live streaming of Symphony No. 5 right now....

https://www.trinitywallstreet.org/video/philip-glass-symphony-no-5-0

Offline arpeggio

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 484
  • Location: Burke, Virginia, USA
Re: Philip Glass
« Reply #230 on: May 19, 2017, 06:34:40 PM »
For many years I really did not care for the music of Glass but I recently have discovered some of his music that really appeals to me.

Two works that I have discovered are:

The concerto for two timpanists:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lnw0IHgjE2E

And the concerto for Saxophone Quartet:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYkIrYh7zuw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9pUnqtc4-k

Offline TheGSMoeller

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 11158
  • Monkey Greg.
Re: Philip Glass
« Reply #231 on: May 20, 2017, 03:48:39 AM »
For many years I really did not care for the music of Glass but I recently have discovered some of his music that really appeals to me.

Two works that I have discovered are:

The concerto for two timpanists:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lnw0IHgjE2E

And the concerto for Saxophone Quartet:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYkIrYh7zuw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9pUnqtc4-k

Great works, arpeggio. Glass has a handful of other concertos you might like.

Offline TheGSMoeller

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 11158
  • Monkey Greg.
Re: Philip Glass
« Reply #232 on: May 20, 2017, 03:50:37 AM »
Live streaming of Symphony No. 5 right now....

https://www.trinitywallstreet.org/video/philip-glass-symphony-no-5-0

Tonight's performance of No. 5 is live streaming as well.

The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, Downtown Voices, and NOVUS NY, conducted by Julian Wachner

ComposerOfAvantGarde

  • Guest
Re: Philip Glass
« Reply #233 on: May 20, 2017, 04:28:19 PM »
I have some Glass and generally enjoy it. Which symphony do you consider to be his best?

I would say 8 is definitely my favourite, followed closely by 2.....2 is probably one of the more underrated symphonies he has written but it has some really interesting harmonic and melodic writing as it is influenced by an interest he had in bitonality. Also, it's a purely orchestral work and from first glance it seems to be more like a fairly normal kind of symphony, nothing that really stands out amongst the plethora of other 45 minute symphonies out there.......but the way harmony and melody work with and against each other create some really fascinating musical tensions that give the symphony a unique sound in his symphonic output.

But I do like 8 more. ;D

Offline TheGSMoeller

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 11158
  • Monkey Greg.
Re: Philip Glass
« Reply #234 on: May 20, 2017, 04:50:01 PM »
I would say 8 is definitely my favourite, followed closely by 2.....2 is probably one of the more underrated symphonies he has written but it has some really interesting harmonic and melodic writing as it is influenced by an interest he had in bitonality. Also, it's a purely orchestral work and from first glance it seems to be more like a fairly normal kind of symphony, nothing that really stands out amongst the plethora of other 45 minute symphonies out there.......but the way harmony and melody work with and against each other create some really fascinating musical tensions that give the symphony a unique sound in his symphonic output.

But I do like 8 more. ;D

8 is great, and very unique in its 3-movement structure with each movement becoming slower, darker.

Jessop, you might like his 11th Symphony. I found it similar to his 2nd, and also 9th. Purely orchestral, and contains the same musical tensions that you mentioned. 

ComposerOfAvantGarde

  • Guest
Re: Philip Glass
« Reply #235 on: May 20, 2017, 04:53:50 PM »
8 is great, and very unique in its 3-movement structure with each movement becoming slower, darker.

Jessop, you might like his 11th Symphony. I found it similar to his 2nd, and also 9th. Purely orchestral, and contains the same musical tensions that you mentioned. 
Sounds good! I wonder when a recording will be released.......I believe there's already a box set of his symphonies in existence which has now been demoted to being an Incomplete Symphonies of Philip Glass.......

I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up making it to 13, 14 or even 15 in terms of the number of symphonies he gets through.

Offline TheGSMoeller

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 11158
  • Monkey Greg.
Re: Philip Glass
« Reply #236 on: May 20, 2017, 05:11:59 PM »
Sounds good! I wonder when a recording will be released.......I believe there's already a box set of his symphonies in existence which has now been demoted to being an Incomplete Symphonies of Philip Glass.......

I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up making it to 13, 14 or even 15 in terms of the number of symphonies he gets through.

When I saw the 11th premiere it was Bruckner Linz and Dennis Russell Davies, and they've recorded the previous 5 symphonies so I'm sure a recording is on it's way.


Offline TheGSMoeller

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 11158
  • Monkey Greg.
Re: Philip Glass
« Reply #237 on: November 10, 2017, 05:28:28 PM »
Bagatov returns to the piano music of Glass, this time performing all of the 20 etudes. I loved Bagatov's first Glass album, Prophecies, that featured transcriptions of works from Einstein and Koyaanisqatsi, and this newest release is just as good. Bagatov offers a delicate and lyrical approach to these works, more so than other Etudes on record, but still gives every one it's own individual voice. A beautiful album.


Offline SurprisedByBeauty

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1902
  • Back. Hello!
    • Surprised by Beauty
  • Currently Listening to:
    anything from Monteverdi to Widmann and well beyond in either direction and everything in the middle!
Re: Philip Glass
« Reply #238 on: December 26, 2017, 09:19:44 AM »

Latest CD of the Week... wrote the review a while ago but it wasn't published in the original outlet, I think... so now, with it hitting the Best of lists 4 times, I figured it was a good time to push it up in the lineup.


Classical CD Of The Week: Víkingur Heiðar Ólafsson; Through The Piano Glass


https://www.forbes.com/preview/sites/jenslaurson/ghgm45felj/

Offline aukhawk

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 685
  • Frankie
  • Location: England
  • Currently Listening to:
    Bach to Björk
Re: Philip Glass
« Reply #239 on: February 16, 2018, 03:58:11 AM »
Philip Glass Etudes for piano, Nos 1-20.
Philip Glass turned 80 in January 2017 and this has sparked a spate of recordings of his piano Etudes, by my reckoning at least 7 sets since the start of 2016, with 3 just last autumn and the most recent being issued this month, February 2018.

Disregarding those piano collections containing just a handful of the Etudes - of which there are several -
in total we seem to have the following 12 sets at least - in approximate order of issue -
Pianist (label) approx issue date (description)
Philip Glass (Orange Mountain) 2003 (part-set of 10, 1-10) (premiere recording of Book 1)
Maki Namekawa (Orange Mountain) 2014 (full set of 20) (premiere recording of Book 2)
Nicolas Horvath (Grand Piano) 2015 (full set of 20) (search for "Glassworlds, Vol. 2") (uniquely for a full set of 20, on 1 CD)
Andrew Chubb (own label) 2015 (part-set of 10, 1-10)
Bojan Gorisek (Bertus) 2015 (full set of 20)
Roger Dretzler (CP Projects) 2016 (part-set of 9, selection from 1-20) (search for "Selected Piano Works") (includes other piano music by Glass)
Bruce Levingston (Sono Luminus) 2016 (part-set of 10, selection from 1-17) (search for "Dreaming Awake") (includes other piano music by Glass)
Vikingur Olafsson (DG) 01/2017 (part-set of 10, selection from 2-20) (search for "Piano Works") (includes one other piece "Opening")
Jeroen Van Veen (Brilliant) 09/2017 (full set of 20)
Jenny Lin (Steinway) 11/2017 (full set of 20)
Anton Batagov (Orange Mountain) 11/2017 (full set of 20) (a live recording)
Sally Whitwell (Decca) 02/2018 (full set of 20)

Not too many household names there!  In fact only two of these (apart from Glass obvs) were known to me -
Jenny Lin whose Shostakovich Preludes & Fugues I greatly admire, and Anton Batagov who recently became infamous in all the wrong ways in the Bach Partitas thread:laugh:


Clued in to this music by the Olafsson recording which I heard last year soon after its release, I have since acquired several of the above, streamed some others and at least sampled the remainder, so I propose to assemble a brief assessment of the above versions, using the first two recordings, by the composer and by Namekawa, as a sort of base line.  I'll cover those two recordings in this post, and the rest in another post to follow.  The full set of 20 lasts over 2 hours, so for purposes of comparison, I'm using Etudes No.2, 6, 12 and 19.

By Glass' own account, an original set of 6 Etudes was completed in 1994 and are the ones now numbered 2,3,4,5,9,10.  [edit to add - this set of 6 can be found in its original form played by Dennis Russell Davies on this CD - but sadly it's not great recording quality and all the music on this album can be found in better versions elsewhere. I would suggest les Labeque sisters for the two-piano music and Lisitsa for The Hours.]


Subsequent commissions extended the set and Book 1 (1-10) was used by Glass to expand his own piano technique and he recorded them in 2003 (when he was 66!).  The final works, Nos.18, 19 and 20, were premiered in February 2013 in a recital by Maki Namekawa (pictured above) who then went on to record the full set of 20.  This recording clearly has the composer's blessing, as it has Micheal Riesman as producer and Glass himself as exec. producer named on the sleeve.  That said, most of the above-named pianists similarly claim a personal connection with the composer.  Perhaps not so surprising as he's still alive and the music is still in copyright.

I find that Book 2 is actually somewhat more accessible music than Book 1 - less hard-core Glass if you like, a bit more lyrical, somewhat jazz-inflected in parts.  Etudes are intended to stretch the pianist's technique, and Nos 2 and 6 certainly do that.  Although it is slowish music, nevertheless in No.2 there are places where it sounds as though the pianist must have 3 hands (in the score, the music is actually written on 3 staves in places).  I went to Youtube to see how it is done (is it an extreme crossed-hands a la Scarlatti, or is it a very artful transfer from hand to hand) and found Olafsson demonstrating with ease that it could be played either way (though he mostly uses crossed hands - or rather, arms - since both extremes of the keyboard are involved).  In No.6, the rapid-fire repeated quavers soon sort out the sheep from the goats - very few of these pianists sound entirely comfortable in No.6, but again Olafsson shows how it should be done and demonstrates convincingly that in this piece, faster is better (if you have the chops - and he is much, much faster than the composer and maybe faster than the score's metronome marking of |=132).  Here's a link to his live performance (not the same as the recording):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80-lRYAtaU0


Glass in his recording tends towards moderate tempi - he plays the slow pieces more quickly, and the quick ones more slowly, relative to most of the other pianists.  Perhaps he really does want all his music to sound the same.  ;)   In No.2 he adopts a quicker tempo than anyone else - the others are generally not just slower, but much slower.  Surprisingly, he plays with moderate rubato - both 'breathing' and per phrase - like Chopin in the hands of a fairly restrained interpreter.  There's a short central episode in this music which is more animated, and is a big point of difference between some of the pianists - Glass just accelerates a little here, in a completely natural-sounding way - he is one of the best at this point.  In general though he does play with a bit of a heavy touch - most of the other pianists show more delicacy in this music (but then, most of them are taking it more slowly).
In No.6 he is slower than is ideal (as demonstrated by Olafsson) but not as slow as some - and at least he sounds comfortable at the tempo he's chosen.  There is rubato, there is rather a lot of sustain pedal, and I think he misses one or more repeats.  It's awfully difficult to tell in this looping music, but simply going by total duration and the tempi chosen, Namekawa for example is distinctly faster yet takes 20 seconds longer.  Incidentally Glass plays No.6 as a continuous segue from No.5 (they are the same key, F minor) - the only other pianist to do this is Gorisek.
The recording - well it's more than OK, but as you might imagine it's up against some pretty stiff competition, with one or two of the recent offerings being piano recordings to die for.  Glass' piano just sounds a bit - underpowered, like maybe it's a baby grand in his apartment?  With many of the Etudes plumbing the depths of the bottom octave, top-notch recording (and reproduction, and piano preparation) is essential in this music.


Turning to Maki Namekawa's recording.  To judge by the responses from the Accuraterip database while I was ripping some of this music, Namekawa is by far the market leader.  Stands to reason, as hers is the earliest complete recording of 1-20, and issued on Glass' own label Orange Mountain.  In No.2 she is nearly 50% slower than Glass (but by no means the slowest), and plays a much more even-handed, classical style, next to no rubato.  She's going for the 'hypnotic' effect.  (On Youtube playing Glass, she is commendably still and poker faced - I like that, not keen on pianists who emote all over the place - Olafsson, I'm looking at you.)  At the central section her accelerando is almost imperceptible and very natural (there's nothing marked on the score - but some pianists go double speed at this point).
In No.6 she is a bit quicker than the composer (but by no means the quickest), again a very straight delivery, very precisely articulated, faultless in its way.
This metronomic style is typical through most of her playing in these Etudes, but that's not to say she's dispassionate - there is always dynamic shading, and some asynchronous effects.  In No.12 she is about as quick as is possible - much quicker than anyone else - with a fine sense of syncopation.  Only in No.19 (of the four pieces sampled) does she unbend and roll with the music.
The recording is a good one, if not quite a match for the very best (Olafsson, and Batagov).  Much more air around the piano than in Glass' recording, makes it a more agreeable listening experience altogether.  On Youtube she's playing a Bosendorfer, but there's no indication what is used for this recording - but no shortage of low-end grunt anyway.

So is Namekawa an upgrade on Glass? She's a more proficient pianist, the recording is better, and the collection includes all 20 Etudes.  So, yes.  But they are very different approaches to the music and it's a matter of taste which you prefer.  Namekawa gives us a fractal landscape of nested loops, more or less a straight transliteration of the score.  Glass takes more liberties with his own music and and in the process humanises it, makes it more, well, musical.  Still to come - more proponents of each of these two schools, sometimes more extreme than either of the above.

I'm still listening, so it will be a day or 2 before I post the rest.  Though I can say now that IMHO only Van Veen, Lin and Batagov really stand comparison with the above, adding Olafsson and possibly Levingston if you don't mind a part-set - and conversely two versions, Horvath and Gorisek, can be dismissed almost without further listening (one cuts too many repeats, the other is just horribly recorded).
« Last Edit: March 12, 2018, 10:44:52 AM by aukhawk »