Thursday, February 24, 2011

Philip Glass: Solo Piano (1989)

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Surely, Philip Glass is one of the best and prolific modern composers. One of the works I particularly like is the 1989 release "Solo Piano". Characteristic elements of this record are the repetitive structures which results in a very accessible piece of piano music. It consists of three individual works which were written in different contexts and times but still blend perfectly into each other. The first part Metamorphosis consists of 5 pieces that was written in 1988 taking their name from a play based on Kafka's short story. Mad Rush was written for the occasion of the Dalai Lama's first public speech in New York in 1981 and the last piece Wichita Vortex Sutra was a result of a collaboration with friend and poet Allen Ginsberg. It is difficult to pick a favorite one but "Metamorphosis Four" and "Mad Rush" stand out for me.
Glass also interprets his own works which is is not so common for classical music composers and some say he is not the best interpreter (of his own music) which I certainly disagree but I also found another interesting interpretation of "Solo Piano" by Branka Parlic (see the clips below). If you wish to dig deeper into Glass I also recommend the Glass Box and The Hours Soundtrack.

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