Philip Glass: Classic or Dud? Search and Destroy

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Search: Two Pages is better than I remembered.

Destroy: Songs From Liquid Days was probably the worst. Maybe I should just make it anything since the mid-70s.

I'm going to say classic for the early work despite his obvious faults. He was able to create a unique sound-world and approach to minimalism that was influential - probably more on pop than on the avant-garde actually. The mix of organ and reed timbres is appealing. The simple additive rhythmic patterns actually created interesting effects in a drone context. His collaborations with Ravi Shankar and pop stars were just appalling though.

sundar subramanian, Thursday, 31 January 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Search: Music in Eighteen Parts.

Destroy: Powanaquatsi (the film as a whole... the soundtrack is, eh, decent).

Search: His quartets.

Destroy: Solo piano works.

Sterling Clover, Thursday, 31 January 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

its "music in twelve parts"

you're combining it with reich's "music for eighteen musicians"

Gage-o, Thursday, 31 January 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I don't know what it is about Glass, but most of his work bugs the shit out of me, because it seems so monotonous. Or is that tri- tonous? His constant arpeggiation drives me out of my mind when I have to keep listening to it. People keep pointing out the subtle shifts in the arpeggiation, and how the pieces move through various transformations along the way, but for some reason that constant deedle-eedle-eedle-eee arpeggiation hits my brain in a spot that is very unpleasant. (Yes, I realize that this method of composition is roughly equivalent to, say, Lustm0rd's use of drones, or Spacemen 3's one-chord wonders, but those things don't bug me. I tend to equate Glass' technique more with the Wesley Willis school of composition...just use the same ideas, shift them around a little bit, maybe change the key. I just don't get the appeal, daddy-o.)

Sean Carruthers, Thursday, 31 January 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Oh, but credit where credit is due: I actually liked Low Symphony. But then again, that'd probably be because he's using other artists' work as the foundation for his own.

Sean Carruthers, Thursday, 31 January 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Oh yes, the Heroes Symphony is also v. nice.

Sterling Clover, Thursday, 31 January 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Einstein On The Beach!

Jeff W, Thursday, 31 January 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Dud. He bugs the hell out of me, too. I only hear his music when its used with a film or show I'm watching. Mercifully, it's no longer impossible to avoid like it was in the wake of Koyaanis-fucking-qatsi.

Curt, Thursday, 31 January 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

>I tend to equate Glass' technique more with the Wesley Willis school of composition...

Hm, I didn't know Willis was at Juillard back in the day. But I know what you mean. I have a ton of stuff by Glass, back when I was way into him, but I don't find myself listening to it all that much, except for Low Symphony, Glassworks, Koyaanisqatsi, and Music for 12 Musicians. The first three probably being more of his accessible stuff.

Todd Burns, Thursday, 31 January 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I used to like glassworks, but now it bugs the fuck out of me.

Sterling Clover, Thursday, 31 January 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

pretty classic, at least for Glassworks, Koyaanqatsi (fantastic film!) etc. Powaqatsi was ok, although quite dull at the start.

michael, Thursday, 31 January 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Music in Twelve Parts.

I noticed the mistake in the earlier post, too, then made it myself. Long day featuring Bio Midterm can be the blame for that one.

Todd Burns, Thursday, 31 January 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

classic for "music in fifths", "music is similar motion" and "music with changing parts". 5th and similar show the robotic stridency that endeared me to his music in the first place whilst changing parts is softer and more mesmeric - perfect chillout style.

i find the rest pretty much ordinairy although the live experience is always amazing.

philT, Thursday, 31 January 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

His timbres are TERRIBLE, the scale and length of his projects outweight their impact, his collaborations are frightening, and his stuff sounds REALLY REALLY dated. I know he's important and stuff, but I'm personally going to give him the "dud."

Clarke B., Thursday, 31 January 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I like the Photographer a lot, but It's the first album I remembering listening to, so it's got lots of sentimental value.

A Nairn, Thursday, 31 January 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Golly, this takes me back a bit. First musical connection I made as an undergrad was with another Glass fan, from whom I borrowed Koyaanisqatsi (loved), Einstein on the Beach and Akhnaten (didn't like much).

Search: Glassworks, Dancepieces, North Star, Thin Blue Line, remix of Aphex Twin's "Icct Hedral", his appearance with Mark Moore and Paul Morley on The Late Show in 1989.

Destroy: 1000 Airplanes On The Roof (unlike North Star this remains unredeemed in the neglected parental-home vinyl collection), Powaqqatsi (strangely distressing to hear chunks of this in The Truman Show) and all the other film work, 1990 onwards.

Michael Jones, Thursday, 31 January 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Search: Dracula, Mishima and Kundin sndtrcks. Hereos, Low Symphonies and string quartets.

Destroy: Piano pieces.

Mr noodles, Thursday, 31 January 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I really like the recent album of Glass material by Brazilian group Uakti, called "Aguas de Amazonas". For the guy who didn't like Glass's timbres, this could be the answer. Uakti play unique instruments they have invented and built themselves (mostly tuned percussion), using everyday materials, such as wood, glass, and even PVC pipe, as well as more traditional instruments like organ and flutes.

Andy M., Friday, 1 February 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

one month passes...
A grossly over-rated composer. I'm not against minimalism per se, but sometimes less is just plain less, not more. Anyway, I find it interesting that his commercial popularity nicely belies the woeful yet easily observed and fully documented fact that there are a whole lot of musically naive people out there, not coincidentally mostly over-pampered status-oriented near-do-wells, who really need to believe that they're actually somewhat musically sophisticated -- and Glass's quasi-intellectual, comfortably hypnotic, essentially conservative and utterly unchallenging solipsistic sound is ever so easy for such people to enthusiastically relate to. Big surprise. But does that make him classic? Classic composers have names like Shubert, Faure, Satie, Jacob, Mister Rogers, Zappa... The list goes on and on. It's a long list and there's always room for more. But, truly, Glass doesn't happen to be on that list. Sure, Glass's inherent banality may well mirror many of the worst aspects of the our disturbingly screwed-up modern world, but that doesn't make him classic. Glass is most definitely a dud.

John Barrow, Sunday, 3 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Also "interesting", ie funny, is when ppl frantically attempting intellectual superiority get words wrong. I expect this "belies" something too.

mark s, Sunday, 3 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Also "interesting", ie funny, is when ppl frantically attempting intellectual superiority mention Zappa.

Andrew L, Sunday, 3 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I'm assuming Mister Rogers is someone other than the children's TV show host?

sundar subramanian, Sunday, 3 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

How essentially conservative and utterly unchallenging of you Sundar!

mark s, Sunday, 3 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

it is hard for me to imagine music more perfect than philip glass.

ethan, Sunday, 3 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

But I thought Mister Rogers was emo!

geeta, Sunday, 3 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I'm not suggesting that Glass's music is actually bad, mind you, any more than I would suggest that eating cotton-candy is bad. But it's still just cotton-candy. And as for intellectual superiority regarding Glass versus Zappa, whether or not one personally prefers or admires one man's music over the other's, it's a fully demonstratable phenomenological reality (as opposed to a popularity contest) that Zappa was operating on a significantly higher intellectual level than Glass could ever hope to acheive or sustain, strictly in terms of each man's native talent for conceptualizing and realizing 'art' music in the Western tradition of using one's imagination to arrange balls and sticks upon a staff. And, yes, one CAN infer such things. It's only a matter of being well-informed and perceptive. And in this case it's not very difficult. Simply stated, Glass is not particularly musically agile. And, sorry, but he's not very innovative either, at least not technically and artistically. Easy-to-chew bread and circus-style entertainment is nothing new, with or without mind-numbingly redundant arpeggios. He may speak intellectually and he may in fact be a more or less well- polished and intellectual fellow and he may even be a fun person to invite to parties, but that's not really the point. Glass's MUSIC is exceedingly banal in a simplistic and essentially non-threatening way, granted, often on a ridiculously large scale, but his music is not very sophisticated intellectually. And I'm referring to qualitative factors, not quantitative. True intellectualism is seldom popular. And I don't suppose it ever will be. And so it comes as no surprise that, among modern mostly spoiled detached simple and ordinary garden-variety people with outrageously artificially inflated standards of living who can AFFORD the luxury of pretending to be a whole lot more sophisticated than they really are (yes, some truths are very unpleasant indeed), Glass's music is often just what the doctor ordered. He serves his purpose well enough. Why do you suppose he's as popular as he is? Naturally his fans may think that he's all that and a bag of chips, but that doesn't make it so. Sure, there may be many ways of accounting for Glass's popularity, but, in case anyone hasn't noticed, he's not 'the Beatles'. But getting back to the subject of intellectual superiority, 'classic' status is not a simple function of intelligence. What we're really discussing is what makes some art superior to other art (is he a classic or a dud, remember?), and that is a far more challenging and interesting subject than merely assessing intelligence. Glass provides excessive quantities of cotton-candy to people who like consuming excessive quantities of cotton-candy. Mmm, yummy. And in the end, purely technically, it all boils down to a rather boring tautology anyway. Whatever his music is, than that's what it is. What is it's true value? It beats me. One person's artistic obsession or fixation is no more or less valid than anyone else's. Assuming that the matter is entirely subjective, which I'm not so sure of but what the hey. And by the way I DO know how to spell 'Schubert'. I'm only human. And, yes, Mister Rogers' music is 'classic'. There are lots of good reasons for falling into the 'classic' catagory. Take care fellow humans. Critical thinking WILL NOT make hair grow on your palms. I don't care what they say.

Mr. Barrow, Sunday, 3 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

it's true. i'm dumb and i like glass and don't like zappa.

Todd Burns, Sunday, 3 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Also "interesting", ie funny, is when ppl frantically attempting intellectual superiority get words wrong. I expect this "belies" something too.
Maybe that the listener is focusing too much on the packaging instead of the content. ;-) I am busy on the opposite: Expanding my vo-ca-bu-la-ry and deleting the little knowledge I have.

helenfordsdale, Sunday, 3 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

use some fucking paragraph breaks you "critical thinker" you

mark s, Sunday, 3 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

helen your vocabulary is four times as large almost everyone else's here, vot with the flemish, the dutch und ze wild und daring variant schpellingZoR

also you are fun to read, which it has been proved enlarges the reader's brain even when they actually want it ensmallened like me

mark s, Sunday, 3 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Are we talking about the background music on Mister Rogers or does he have other stuff?

sundar subramanian, Sunday, 3 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Perhaps vocabulary size IS a valid measure of intelligence. The more words ya know, the smarter ya am. Learn MORE words and make yourself more smarter. Easy. Golly, there sure are a lot of smart people out there. And the more different words they use, the more smarter they is. Perhaps. Though I'm inclined to believe that associative cognitive talents (as opposed to simple retrieval) may figure into the question of what makes intelligence intelligence. "Belie"...? What's up with that? Oh brother. Of course if the main thing that one has to frantically worry about and criticize others about is whether or not others are "using words right," than maybe one is a wee bit stuffy and pedantic and a few other things that one would likely prefer to deny tooth and nail. Anyhoot, I'm more interested in matters of the art than smarmy my-vocabulary-beats-your-vocabulary nitpicky pretentiousness. But that's just me. Maybe I'm old- fashioned, but I'm GLAD that everybody doesn't communicate in exactly the same way.

"...f______ paragraph breaks..."? Tossing naughty language hither thither isn't very nice. For shame. Besides, I read a phonebook the other day, and it didn't have very many paragraph breaks.

Yes, Mister Rogers is an actual composer, among other good things, but whether or not HE'S a classic or a dud isn't really the issue at hand (classic). This question answering and exploring forum is supposedly about Glass in particular, and it just seemed to me that the thickness of his praise was making the criticism lean towards the thin, so I thought I'd make a few critical observations on behalf of those of us who may believe that he's not overly remarkable. Now I realize that I may be going out on a limb with such an edgy thesis, but what's life without risk? Meaningless and not very fun to boot, that's what. Sure, I could be waxing poetic on the subject of erotic scrimshaw, and I often do, but that would be all too easy. As a music lover and fighter, what I really had a hankerin' for was a knock-down drag-out no-holds-barred Glass-tussle. So thank you very much and may the debate rage on (or, as the case may be, drone monotonously on and on and on not unlike Glass's music) ad infinitum. Woof!

j.b., Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

J.B. -- yr 13, right? Act yr age, admit yr limits of knowledge and stick around to engage in discussion, not self-inflation, eh?

Sterling Clover, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

dude remember those stuck-up kids in jr high who would be like 'oh my, such vulgar language, an indication of a lesser mind' when you'd tell them to fuck off?

ethan, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I could be waxing poetic on the subject of erotic scrimshaw

It would be an improvement, but only in the relative sense.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

ethan: yeah, then I'd try to hit them or something and usually one of their friends would clock me.

Sterling Clover, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

"yr 13, right?"? What the heck is that supposed to imply? Ineffectively glib -- not to mention having nothing to do with the work of philip Glass.

"...stuck-up kids in highschool..."? The poeple who are the quickest to accuse others of being arrogant are truly a dull and predictable lot. And again, nothing to do with Glass. Although their are some people who have not unreasonably observed that Glass's work tends to be dull and predictable.

But anyway, the "you're stuck-up" finger pointing people's anti- intellectual attitude and antics, um, how shall I put it, "belie" their thin veneer of sophistication. Very thin. My guess is that they tend to be 'Glass = classic' people more often than not, and, on the whole are well educated in the well-certified and degreed sense yet possessing only nominal measurable native intelligence. Near-do- wells... Why else would such people immediately and aggressively take the mere mention of the concept of intelligence so personally. Their insecurity is painfully obvious.

Now there's an intriguing question. Is the music of Philip Glass anti-intellectual in some way? Could be. It does seem to be pretending to be intelligent, even though there are good reasons to suspect that it isn't particularly. But than again, the folks who make it painfully obvious that they are too emotional to engage in reasonable discourse yet really REALLY want to pretend to be oh so sophisticated would likely avoid that idea like bubonic plague. Huh? What was the question? I CAN'T HEAR YOU. And the next question is... It smells like religion. "Don't you be questionin' MY God, you evil heathen..." Highly predictable indeed, and maybe even a tad anti-intellectual.

And how could such a potentially interesting discussion be so lacking? Perhaps there are too many little ponds with big fish and too few big ponds with little fish. Oh well, maybe the situation will improve.

j.b., Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

jb: your crass empiricism cannot harm our anti-rational, pro-pop, madcap five-dimensional logic!

Why does glass need to be "intellectual" to be good? Can't he just make me happy, or calm, or produce things which are relaxing while I'm reading or working? What if he produced things that were good for screwing to? Wouldn't that be classic? Or what if he produced things that were great when you had something else to do/look at, ambient for operas? Because, in a way, he does. Cf. Einstein On The Beach & Au Revoir... (which I saw in the first run, and d-d-damn!)

Sterling Clover, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

hey that's better, paragraph breaks

mark s, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

ethan, one of the "32 Types of Brother" from Life in Hell: "I have zero interest in your infantile shenanigans"

mark s, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Personally, I'd rather hear more about the erotic scrimshaw.

Christine "Green Leafy Dragon" Indigo, Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Now that's what it's all about. The art. Of course art doesn't have to be intellectual. The notion is absurd. And defining the value of Glass's music as a function of its emotional effect upon oneself is quite reasonable, especially when its emotional impact outweighs its intellectual impact. And therein lies a lot of interesting subjectivity. I wonder why SHOULD art make intellectual demands?

I find some of his works to be quite pleasant. I would agree that much of his material from the mid-seventies through the early eighties has merit -- especially the works that ultimately let him reach folks beyond the inner circles. And writing movie soundtracks is a good choice for any composer who wouldn't mind expanding an audience. For a while, his sound was somewhat novel, though there were other folks doing similar things. But why did he appear to purposefully arrest his own artistic development? What the heck happened?

Here's a theory: Before his art was his living, he seemed to be trying harder and having it pay off artistically, but after his art became his living, I think he began to be less inventive. His approach became more and more self-limiting. I mean, he began writing music as if he were making clothing from only several or possibly only two bolts of cloth. Want a 'new' composition? Maybe an opera? Grab a bolt, pin the pattern down, and cut around the pattern. Frankly, he's not really as prolific as he seems. It's not that different from what many composers do, but he's drawing from such narrow sources, it just seems overly and un-artistically synthetic and contrived.

And this choice of artistic direction is suspiciously like that of the 'stripe' painters of approximately the same period and their ilk, or of various other one-trick pony types from many artistic disciplines. Like so many others, in an age of briefer than ever attention spans and soundbite mentalities (its a cliche, but its true), he found that if he stuck to those peculiarly narrow 'bolts of cloth', he could be accepted, and make a decent living.

It's not all that far-fetched. And, who knows, perhaps he'll create some new material someday that defies those observations. I'm only suggesting that success had a negative effect on his art. If it hadn't, maybe Glass WOULD be a classic. But success never spoils true classics.

j.b., Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

And who would blame you? Those interesting in learning more about erotic scrimshaw may visit Good luck.

j.b., Monday, 4 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

jb: I would disagree in Glass' case. His minimialism was orig. a v. radical gesture, stark and synthetic, much more imposing and anti-human than adams while being less conceptual than reich.

A certain amount of frission has been lost since then, as the landscape shifted under his feet -- I'd characterize Glass' career since roughly Einstein as trying to rediscover an alternate spiritualism outside of the western cannon, with varying degrees of success depending on both his incorporative ability and the extent to which that which he seeks to incorporate is total crap.

In some ways, the most important thing to recognize about glass IS his range, because it isn't restricted to the canon, but trying to redefine it -- witness his Bowie symphonies, his collabs with bryne and vega, the euro-12-tone touches which he treated with the SAME attitude in Les Infants... &c.

Sterling Clover, Tuesday, 5 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I agree that his callabs tend to be more interesting, but it's the folks with whom he's callabbing who (sometimes, when the audience is lucky) do the most to make the material intriguing. And if Glass carries some of that fresh blood into his own compositional circulatory system, than good for him. He's one composer who can benefit from the transfusions -- especially the non-crap collabs, but even crap may provide welcome variability or at least inspiration that may lead to greener artistic pastures. But, granted, his singularly patterned style is ready made for collabs. And in that regard that does make him a rather standout composer. So in the annals of hybridized musical creativity, maybe he's a classic.

But he's so astoundingly easy to imitate and even counterfit -- a strange but useful and fun musical game often played by the musically agile. All sneakiness and legal issues aside (he's a celeb, and this was 'satire'), I once witnessed a 'premier' of 'his' work that was entirely convincing, and the attending fans loved its pants off quite gushingly. It was kind of sad. But it was a fascinating social experiment if nothing else. Thus I can't help feeling that his style is terribly lacking in true and subtle idiosyncracies. And that, to varying degrees, his fans are strangely nondiscriminating. Is the emperor wearing no clothes? I see it as a distinct possibility.

And does that lack of subtle idiosyncracies (ones that are not as easy to parrot or extrapolate by people who have the ears to 'see' EXACTLY what Glass is doing) put his music into the 'dehumanizing' camp? Yes, quite. And that's a legitimate artistic motivation. Many of the 12-tone composers coming out and away from the pointlessness of world war I were exploring a similar creative impulse. And whether one enjoys listening to 12-tone music or not, it can be safely said that it was radical and not commercial. Glass is not a radical. And I don't believe that he ever was. Well, not lately anyway. Glass's music is extremely conservative.


j.b., Tuesday, 5 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

eleven months pass...
Agreed it's all over once he gave up his additive rhythms, the shifting time signatures. Most people have only heard the post-commerical breakthrough Glassworks-onward stuff, where it really is nothing more than monolithic, strict tempo up/down arpeggios. Can't hold it against anyone who hates him if they've only heard that stuff.

'Einstein' sure is remarkable though, the main themes are totally beautiful (far more angular and weird than the dippy schubert mode he went for later) and the shifting rhythms keep knocking you off guard, it's not background music, it demands active listening... I wonder what his reputation would be like these days if he'd stopped at that exact point, but hey then he'd probably still be a starving cab driver, wouldn't be fair to him.

There's still some rhythmic variation in 'Satyagraha' but a lot of it goes for straight toe-tapping pulsation. By 'Glassworks' the stacks of rhythm have gone entirely missing, it's nothing but those doodley doodley arpeggios, and bingo: commercial breakthrough, and no looking back. Since the 80's, less pounding, increasingly smoothed out, simple bland loveliness. Almost too easy to criticize.

No one should write off Glass entirely before hearing 'Einstein on the Beach', it's still incredible. The original '79 Sony recording is still better, the 90's re-recording has better production values and tighter, faster performances but loses too much, nothing can touch the farfisa organ arrangements or the vocal performances on the original. I think 'North Star' is still lovely. Of the 80's stuff, I still love the soundtrack to 'Mishima', especially the sections for string quartet. It was 'Solo Piano' that convinced me to stop buying the stuff and the few things I've heard since then make me kind of angry.

Jon Leidecker, Wednesday, 5 February 2003 20:38 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

is there a non-cynical reason PG stopped using the non-dull rhythms? (like for example the permutations ran out, or at least started repeating themselves?)

mark s (mark s), Wednesday, 5 February 2003 20:42 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

i think Jon said it right above you: commercial breakthrough, and no looking back

JasonD (JasonD), Wednesday, 5 February 2003 20:54 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

ok then, has PG ever offered up an aesthetic get-out clause (or does he justify it commercially as well)?

mark s (mark s), Wednesday, 5 February 2003 22:28 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I have a very limited knowledge of Glass and classical music in general. That said The Kronos Quartet did a record of his work that I enjoy quite a bit. Seems as though Glass raises a lot ire in people. But from my perspective(which again is limited) it doesn't sound so far removed from music by Cluster or Eno. Of course I love Cluster & Eno a lot, so what do I know?

Juan (Juan), Wednesday, 5 February 2003 22:42 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I rly like the 3rd Qatsi score too... can't remember if that's Naqoy or Powwa. Basically the first and third Qatsi scores are great and the middle one sucks.

The new Reggio one, Visitors, was interesting enough on first listen to warrant a second. Will say more later.

I def recognize that what he has to contribute at this stage is not unique or epoch making in the way he once was but it also just pleases me on an animal level.

grape is the flavor of my true love's hair (Jon Lewis), Sunday, 23 February 2014 18:33 (four years ago) Permalink

This was new to me:

my father will guide me up the stairs to bed (anagram), Tuesday, 25 February 2014 16:09 (four years ago) Permalink

Visitors: the album is about 2x too long but there is some really moving stuff here. Recommend paring it down to tracks 1,4,5 and 6.

grape is the flavor of my true love's hair (Jon Lewis), Tuesday, 25 February 2014 16:38 (four years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

uh how come nobody mentioned that UCLA is putting on three days of Glass pieces in early May

5/2: Beauty and the Beast:
5/3: Music In Twelve Parts (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!):
5/4: some new thing called Etudes:

I bought a ticket dead center for Twelve Parts. this means that in the last calendar year I will have seen Einstein on the Beach, Music In Twelve Parts, Music For 18 Musicians, and Drumming all performed live. now I just need to see performances of The Photographer and Bryars' Sinking of the Titanic and I can go ahead and leave the planet. hard to believe anything's going to top Drumming though.

a duiving caTCH, a stuolllen bayeeeess (jamescobo), Wednesday, 2 April 2014 00:34 (four years ago) Permalink

sometimes i think part one of 12 parts is the most sublime ambient piece ever composed

rhyme heals all goons (m bison), Wednesday, 2 April 2014 01:30 (four years ago) Permalink

it pisses me off so much that they're sticking an intermission in the middle of it. fuk the wusses who can't handle the whole thing in one go. then again I saw Einstein twice without ever getting up to go to the bathroom so maybe my kidneys just appreciate minimalism.

a duiving caTCH, a stuolllen bayeeeess (jamescobo), Wednesday, 2 April 2014 01:53 (four years ago) Permalink

hahaha p glass should compose potty break music

rhyme heals all goons (m bison), Wednesday, 2 April 2014 01:59 (four years ago) Permalink

just looking at Music in 12 Parts on iTunes and am confused. There are two releases, both on Orange Mountain Music, sort of. One is from 2013 and is a single 25 dollar release. The other is 12 separate 19 or so minute releases, each labeled by which part it is. I'm too lazy to preview now to see if they're the same. Anybody know if they're the same recording?

dan selzer, Wednesday, 2 April 2014 02:32 (four years ago) Permalink

wait, it's more confusing than that.

There's this:

Then there's this live version from 2008:

and I think the split up version comes from that.

dan selzer, Wednesday, 2 April 2014 02:35 (four years ago) Permalink

Yes, the split up version comes from this one:

This one was recorded in 1993 and originally released on Nonesuch in 1996:

However, this 3-CD set from Virgin Records in 1989 was the first release of all 12 parts. Parts 1 - 6 were recorded in 1975 (1 & 2 released on a LP at the time), parts 7 - 12 recorded in 1987. This version isn't listed on the website, which probably means it's out of print:

Hideous Lump, Wednesday, 2 April 2014 03:24 (four years ago) Permalink

Personally I would go for the Nonesuch version

I saw them do it in the Czech Republic last summer and was definitely glad of the intermission

Also saw it in London in 2007 with Leonard Cohen sitting in the row behind me

my father will guide me up the stairs to bed (anagram), Wednesday, 2 April 2014 06:00 (four years ago) Permalink

I was trying to find a blog post by Nico Muhly where he recommends checking out the first version of 12 Parts because there's a bunch of mistakes and the organ sounds are a bit graunchy and seventies.

They factored in 2 intermissions in London last year and I was initially a bit 'Hey I sat through Einstein you wusses!!' But I can see why as it's much more overwhelming I guess because of the lack of visual stimulus. It becomes *so* relentless, especially 2/3 of the way in. It really feels superhuman, watching those blurry hands. But damn, it was so great.

MaresNest, Wednesday, 2 April 2014 09:40 (four years ago) Permalink

there is also a box set released by Venture overseas in 1988

at the risk of being that guy this is the version I have. it's great! totally worth getting up all those times to flip the record (the element of the live performance I am looking forward to most [not having to walk like ten whole feet to the record player and back]), although admittedly I only do this the whole way through once a year or so. I will say that there are fewer facepalm-inducing moments in 12 Parts than in any of Glass' "I am dedicating some significant time to listening to this whole thing in one sitting" works; it contains fewer heart-wrenchingly gorgeous moments than, say, "Knee Play 5" or the Douglas Perry aria at the end of Satyagraha.

this is part of the reason why I love The Photographer above and beyond everything else in Glass' discography - it takes you on a truly glorious journey and you only have to get up once. the only comparable work in his discography is the OST to Mishima and the pieces that compose that work don't get enough space to sprawl out and explore every avenue the composition offers (which is literally the work's only flaw, both the soundtrack and the movie are utterly riveting in every other way. I love the 'Qatsi trilogy all-encompassingly too as both a film series and a set of scores, but Mishima absolutely slaughters it). I heard Glass & Riesman scored The Photogrpaher as a much longer piece; that, Bryars' The Sinking of the Titanic, and Budd's Pavilion of Dreams are the last three items on my contemporary composition bucket list.

a duiving caTCH, a stuolllen bayeeeess (jamescobo), Wednesday, 2 April 2014 16:53 (four years ago) Permalink

I enjoy the graunchy imperfections of it; those are always the moments in the live performances of minimalist pieces where I'm most hyper-aware of the performance. the rest of the time I'm just locked in paying attention.

also I just watched Reich's Drumming performed last weekend without any visual stimulus and it was basically the greatest thing I've ever seen in my entire life so I remain part of the INTERMISSION BOO HISS crowd. I am unimaginably stoked to see this though; Glass is my favorite of the minimalists.

a duiving caTCH, a stuolllen bayeeeess (jamescobo), Wednesday, 2 April 2014 16:56 (four years ago) Permalink

whenever I listen 12 Parts, it's the 1975/1987 Virgin CD set -- I had the 90's Nonesuch for a while and sold it. like the 90's rerecording of Einstein, the 90's version has impressively precise playing but also 90's digital synths in place of the cheesy farfisas. mileage may vary.

haven't heard the 2008 live recording but I imagine it's good. saw the Ensemble play parts 11 & 12 a few years ago and it was emotional.

Milton Parker, Wednesday, 2 April 2014 17:35 (four years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Anyone else think that the webcast of Einstein, illuminating as it is, doesn't quite have the live magic and is kind of a sterile experience?

Call the Doctorb, the B is for Brownstein (Leee), Wednesday, 7 May 2014 20:43 (four years ago) Permalink

nine months pass...

The recording of EOTB from Paris is getting repeated on Sky Arts quite a bit over the next few days.

MaresNest, Wednesday, 18 February 2015 17:48 (three years ago) Permalink

A Brief History of Time score is finally getting a release (on Orange Mountain).

a drug by the name of WORLD WITHOUT END (Jon Lewis), Wednesday, 18 February 2015 17:49 (three years ago) Permalink

three months pass...

Is there a download or a t0rrent of the Paris Einstein anywhere?

anthony braxton diamond geezer (anagram), Tuesday, 19 May 2015 14:52 (three years ago) Permalink

I got mine off P1rat3bay, about a year back, there were two running, one big, one smaller.

MaresNest, Tuesday, 19 May 2015 15:13 (three years ago) Permalink

look on youtube

I recently thought of his work "well shit, if he is going to write things like that, anyone can do anything!" kind of like cremaster cycle

Brian Eno's Mother (Latham Green), Tuesday, 19 May 2015 15:21 (three years ago) Permalink

He's on his book tour now. Wife just saw him chatting onstage with NPR's Bob Boilen about his book, growing up in Baltimore, mutual love of bagels and some things that don't start with a "b"

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 19 May 2015 15:48 (three years ago) Permalink

Anagram, had a quick peek on PB, they're both still going.

MaresNest, Tuesday, 19 May 2015 16:27 (three years ago) Permalink

yeah thanks MN, I found them, loaded up the large one but it's d/ling at a crawl so could be a while

anthony braxton diamond geezer (anagram), Tuesday, 19 May 2015 17:33 (three years ago) Permalink

I've just flicked through the book so far, main revelation is that he once picked up Salvador Dali when working as a cab driver.

anthony braxton diamond geezer (anagram), Tuesday, 19 May 2015 17:51 (three years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

"I've just flicked through the book so far, main revelation is that he once picked up Salvador Dali when working as a cab driver."

I wonder who was in the glove box

Brian Eno's Mother (Latham Green), Monday, 6 July 2015 16:25 (three years ago) Permalink

The book is great. Really chatty, interesting and full of insights. Definitely a memoir rather than a full-blown autobiography and very selective as to what he puts in and what he leaves out. But I love the stuff about him being a working musician who very quickly got to grips with the economics of survival in 1970s New York, not just with his day jobs but through touring with his ensemble, playing his own music just like a rock band.

anthony braxton diamond geezer (anagram), Monday, 6 July 2015 16:57 (three years ago) Permalink

seven months pass...

MaresNest, Thursday, 11 February 2016 22:44 (two years ago) Permalink

And incase anybody missed it.

MaresNest, Thursday, 11 February 2016 22:45 (two years ago) Permalink

eight months pass...

anyone ever seen Akhnaten performed live? I just pulled the trigger on a ticket to see it in late November since seeing Einstein was a transformative event in my music-seeing life and I've owned and loved the LP set for years, but I have no idea what kind of experience to expect.

thos beads (jamescobo), Wednesday, 19 October 2016 05:17 (two years ago) Permalink

Yeah I saw it in London earlier this year, the same production as the one you'll see in LA. Should have posted about it at the time, it was totally spectacular and wonderful. And the jugglers!

heaven parker (anagram), Wednesday, 19 October 2016 07:27 (two years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

holy wow, Akhnaten was stupid great; I may have liked it more than Einstein. the juggling was indeed jaw-dropping but the coolest bit to me was the alligator people (possibly because I was sitting in the upper balcony looking down, which was probably the optimal perspective). I really regret only going once.

thos beads (jamescobo), Sunday, 27 November 2016 06:51 (two years ago) Permalink

Should be noted that his score for the recent The Crucible Bway revival was amazing and made me wish more plays had that kind of constant background scoring.

ヽ(´ー`)┌ (CompuPost), Sunday, 27 November 2016 16:04 (two years ago) Permalink

ten months pass...

So the score for Glass' Music In Eight Parts (1970) sold at Christie's recently, it was never recorded and was abandoned by Glass pretty much at once as he moved on to different systems of working that resulted in Music In Twelve Parts, it remained unseen until Christie's put scans of it up on their website for the auction and this (slightly crude) rendering has just appeared on Youtube.

MaresNest, Sunday, 1 October 2017 10:05 (one year ago) Permalink

four months pass...

"Music with changing parts" (1970) from Carnegie Hall last Friday. Available to watch until May 17.

Hans Holbein (Chinchilla Volapük), Wednesday, 21 February 2018 19:06 (nine months ago) Permalink

Off to see Satyagraha at the ENO next week.

the word dog doesn't bark (anagram), Wednesday, 21 February 2018 19:22 (nine months ago) Permalink

I saw that last weekend, I wasn't sure if three hours of Glass would work for me but both visually and musically it's never less than transfixing.

Matt DC, Wednesday, 21 February 2018 21:26 (nine months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

This is probably a long shot but does someone out there have a rip of the Virgin Records 'Music In Twelve Parts' that I could have?

I think it's just the first couple of parts that actually are on the rekkid.

MaresNest, Friday, 23 March 2018 21:13 (eight months ago) Permalink

Seconded. I only have the re-recording and have always wanted to hear the original. It’s definitely been on CD but not in print these days

when worlds collide I'll see you again (Jon not Jon), Friday, 23 March 2018 23:19 (eight months ago) Permalink

seven months pass...

Einstein touring Europe from Nov and into 2019, in a somewhat compressed format with no staging and Suzanne Vega reciting -

MaresNest, Friday, 16 November 2018 22:26 (three weeks ago) Permalink

MaresNest, Friday, 16 November 2018 22:26 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Saw him play solo a week ago and debut a new piece made for the Third Coast Percussion Ensemble (recording coming out in a few months).

During the onstage Q&A, he talked about how playing in and composing for his high-school marching band had a big effect on his work.

... (Eazy), Saturday, 17 November 2018 01:19 (three weeks ago) Permalink

XXP to myself and Jon - this went up on youtube today.

MaresNest, Friday, 23 November 2018 00:04 (two weeks ago) Permalink

first two parts of 12 parts are some of my favorite pieces of music ever.

21st savagery fox (m bison), Friday, 23 November 2018 04:13 (two weeks ago) Permalink

damn i'm too late - removed by user.

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 4 December 2018 16:13 (one week ago) Permalink

But... there is a (complete for the time? About 2CD length) live 1981 performance out there which I downloaded and am listening to now and though the sound quality is definitely a B it slays

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 4 December 2018 23:45 (one week ago) Permalink

hella cool:

Anthony Roth Costanzo, "Liquid Days", dancer Ron "Myles Yachts" Myles

niels, Wednesday, 5 December 2018 13:22 (one week ago) Permalink

another cool glass piece from NPR's 100 eoy tracks

niels, Thursday, 6 December 2018 16:57 (six days ago) Permalink

So nice.

... (Eazy), Thursday, 6 December 2018 17:22 (six days ago) Permalink

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