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Philip Glass: Glassworks
     

Philip Glass: Glassworks

by Philip Glass
 

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The usual stuff is here: arpeggio versus ostinato, ostinato versus arpeggio. And as always, the Philip Glass Ensemble's synthesizers double their woodwinds. But Glassworks is the most pleasant craftwork ever from the great minimalist exploiter -- six warm pieces that approach the spirit of minimalist pioneer Erik Satie

Overview

The usual stuff is here: arpeggio versus ostinato, ostinato versus arpeggio. And as always, the Philip Glass Ensemble's synthesizers double their woodwinds. But Glassworks is the most pleasant craftwork ever from the great minimalist exploiter -- six warm pieces that approach the spirit of minimalist pioneer Erik Satie. Only instead of Satie's lyrical-to-antic jumps, Glass creates the ruminative-to-excitable kind. "Opening"'s softly rolled piano melody is music to fold your hands and muse by, and when Sharon Moe's French horn sets up "Floe," everything seems nice and level -- until the flailing woodwinds and synthesizers of the ensemble crash in. Glassworks is tuneful in the most pleasingly direct sense -- the arrangements define the melodies so cleanly they're instantly memorable. In addition, the album is programmed with a particular shape in mind. It's kind of a waveform, where every other relaxed melody is upset by a classic Glass rush -- "Floe" is even outpaced by "Rubric"'s honking saxophones and enough cascading counterpoint to give David Helfgoff a case of carpal tunnel syndrome. These two tunes are so disruptive, so complex, that it's easy to think that they dominate the whole project. But they're also the shortest tunes on the album. Most of the time, harmonies bob around in the strings and woodwinds, though Jon Gibson's soprano sax glides atop "Facades." "Closing," based on "Opening" (funny), contains his second prettiest orchestration after the finale of Satyagraha. In fact, it's probably the source of Glass' subsequent reputation in the new age music industry. Of interest to those who keep up with Glass' re-use of his work: "Rubric" was originally intended for use in Godfrey Reggio's movie Koyanisqqaatsi. It was re-used along with "Facades" on the 1987 album Dancepieces. "Opening," "Floe," "Facades," and "Rubric" were performed in Peter Greenaway's film 4 American Composers, devoted to Glass and his ensemble; in this performance segment, Dora Ohrenstein's vocals replace "Floe"'s brass section.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/25/1990
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0074643726528
catalogNumber:
37265

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Opening, for chamber ensemble or piano  - Philip Glass
  2. Floe  - Philip Glass
  3. Island  - Philip Glass
  4. Rubric  - Philip Glass
  5. Façades, for 2 flutes (or saxophones) & strings  - Philip Glass
  6. Closing  - Philip Glass

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Philip Glass   Primary Artist,Organ,Keyboards
Brown   Viola
Jon Gibson   Soprano Saxophone
Jonathan Abramowitz   Cello
Seymour Barab   Cello
Julien Barber   Viola
Jack Kripl   Clarinet,Bass Clarinet,Piccolo,Soprano Saxophone
Lois Martin   Viola
Sharon Moe   French Horn
Richard Peck   Tenor Saxophone
Michael Riesman   Organ,Synthesizer,Piano,Conductor,Synthesizer Bass
Larry Wechsler   French Horn
Frederick Zlotkin   Cello
Linda Moss   Viola
Maureen Gallagher   Viola
John Abramowitz   Cello
Philip Glass Ensemble   Ensemble

Technical Credits

Philip Glass   Arranger,Producer
Kurt Munkasci   Producer,Engineer
Michael Riesman   Engineer
Henrietta Condak   Cover Design

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