Philip Glass: Songs from the Trilogy

Philip Glass: Songs from the Trilogy

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Philip Glass' 1987 album Songs from the Trilogy is made up of brief selections from his three portrait operas, "Einstein on the Beach" (1976), "Satyagraha" (1980), and "Akhnaten" (1983). It gives a good idea of what the music from the operas sounds like, but at the same time it misrepresents what the music is actually

Overview

Philip Glass' 1987 album Songs from the Trilogy is made up of brief selections from his three portrait operas, "Einstein on the Beach" (1976), "Satyagraha" (1980), and "Akhnaten" (1983). It gives a good idea of what the music from the operas sounds like, but at the same time it misrepresents what the music is actually about. In developing his "music with repetitive structures" (the description he preferred over "minimalism"), Glass was creating a new kind of experience, one in which the traditional temporal expectations of a piece of music are overturned, where changes happen incrementally and very slowly over a long (sometimes a very long) span of time. A common response to his work, particularly his earlier pieces, including "Einstein," was boredom followed by a visceral jolt when the listener was suddenly hit by the power of the gradually evolving changes. The snippets on this album convey the sound of Glass' music, but their brevity rules out the possibility of their having the impact the composer intended. "Trial-Prison" from "Einstein on the Beach," for instance, is cut from 18 minutes to three, and most of the excerpts from "Satyagraha" and "Akhnaten" suffer a same fate, shortened to a third to a half of their original length. Still, the album is not without its merits. The gripping performances are by the Philip Glass Ensemble in "Einstein," and in the case of "Satyagraha" and "Akhnaten," taken from the original cast albums. Tenor Douglas Perry is a standout in the role of Gandhi in "Satyagraha"; his tone is sweet and fresh and his delivery achingly poignant. Soprano Iris Hiskey's crystalline, wordless vocalise in "Bed" from "Einstein" is eerily mesmerizing. In all the operas, Sony's sound is exemplary. The album may not offer much of a real sense of what the operas are like, but if it whets listeners' appetites to seek out the complete recordings it will have served a worthy purpose.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/07/1989
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0074644558029
catalogNumber:
45580
Rank:
43595

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Philip Glass   Organ
Dennis Russell Davies   Conductor
Jon Gibson   Soprano Saxophone
George Andoniadis   Organ,Track Performer
Lucinda Childs   Speech/Speaker/Speaking Part,Track Performer
Iris Hiskey   Soprano (Vocal),Track Performer
Richard Landry   Bass Clarinet,Track Performer
Douglas Perry   Tenor (Vocal),Track Performer
Michael Riesman   Conductor
Sheryl Sutton   Speech/Speaker/Speaking Part,Track Performer
Paul Zukofsky   Violin,Track Performer
New York City Opera Orchestra   Ensemble
Claudia Cummings   Soprano (Vocal),Track Performer
Philip Glass Ensemble   Ensemble
Rhonda Liss   Alto (Vocal),Track Performer
Sheryl Woods   Soprano (Vocal)
Paul Esswood   Tenor (Vocal),Counter Tenor (Vocal)
Stuttgart State Opera Chorus   Ensemble
Stuttgart State Opera Orchestra   Ensemble
Stuttgart State Orchestra   Ensemble
Scott Reeve   Bass (Vocal)
Christopher Keene   Conductor
Robert McFarland   Baritone (Vocal)
New York City Opera Chorus   Ensemble
Milagro Vargas   Alto,Soprano (Vocal)
Samuel Johnson   Spoken Word

Technical Credits

Philip Glass   Lyricist,Producer
Milton Glaser   Illustrations
Rory Johnston   Contributor
Kurt Munkasci   Producer
Michael Riesman   Producer,Contributor
Joel Zimmerman   Cover Design
Jody Dalton   Liner Notes
Jody Dalton   Contributor,Liner Notes

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