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Symphonies Nos. 2 & 3

Philip Glass , Marin Alsop , Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Audio CD

Price: CDN$ 9.59 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Product Description

Product Description

Philip Glass has enjoyed a degree of popularity unusual among contemporary composers. A pupil of Nadia Boulanger, he was also influenced by the Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar and has won a reputation as an exponent of minimalism, based on the systematic

Product Description

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra - Dir. Marin Alsop

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glass Deepens With Two Dramatically Resonant Pieces April 22 2005
By Ed Uyeshima - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Along with his colleague John Adams, Philip Glass is the most familiar of the modern minimalists. Yet like Adams, Glass seems to be building a greater communicative sense with each new work I hear. These two symphonies were composed in the early nineties, and Naxos is now providing a 2003 recording of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra led by the insightful Marin Alsop. This is the same group of artists that played the wonderful version of Adams' "Shaker Loops" this past year, and this recording of Glass' works equals that one for dramatic insight and virtuosic preciseness.

A strings-only piece, Symphony #3 (23:58) has four conventional movements which build in drama and texture. It contains many of Glass' signature sounds with mono-tonal melodies that spiral in larger and larger circles and chords that feel like they are beating down an urban thunderstorm of clandestine activity - jabbing, throbbing, chugging - as they do in the second movement. Yet the music reflects some of his most gentle work especially in the first and third movements. There is an unexpectedly beautiful violin solo in the middle of the third movement that runs initially counter to his quietly driving sequential style until they eventually meld together. The drama turns fiery in the last movement as it broadens into an exciting albeit measured gallop, at the same time not sacrificing the virtuosity of the expert playing by the Bournemouth string section.

Symphony #2 (43:14) is a larger scale piece that makes dramatic sense to be played after the third, as it is a more ambitious work. It slowly builds in intensity with very broad strokes that deepen and darken when it comes to the bass-lines and the repetitive use of contrasting woodwinds. There is a vividly harrowing sense of adventure to the first movement that this section would not be inappropriate to be used as background movie music for a daring escape aboard a hot air balloon crossing the Alps. There is more of an orchestral sense to the second movement and an increasing ambiguity in tone that heightens the drama considerably with yet a new set of pronounced textures. The finale has almost a battle-cry exuberance but with a swooping, sinuous dramatic power with the addition of brass and even bells to the strings and woodwinds. The last movement truly feels like the culmination of what Glass has presented before in both symphonies.

Beautifully recorded at "The Concert Hall, Lighthouse, Poole" in Dorset, UK, this recording verifies that Glass' oeuvre is more than his famous operas often in collaboration with Robert Wilson. Producer-engineer Tim Handley has done an excellent job of keeping the impeccable sound in check throughout. And like the Adams recording, this one sells for the ridiculously bargain basement price of $6.98. Strongly recommended.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Defies the theory that Glass's orchestral works are weak Dec 26 2004
By James G. Glicker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I bought this CD simply on impulse (it was on sale for $5.99) but it turned out to be a rewarding purchase. I have always thought of Glass's great works to be his operas and smaller pieces (Glassworks etc.) but the pairing of these two powerful orchestral works makes you wonder if his symphonies are underrated (and certainly underperformed). Alsop creates a unified structure that makes a more compelling case than the previous recording of the 3rd (I don't have any comparison for the 2nd). Bournemouth, as everybody knows, is a fine orchestra, but really shines when Alsop asks them to provide a little more 'oomphh' than is usually called for in Glass works. No serious contemporary collector should miss this set, and at the price I'd buy one for a friend.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovable June 2 2008
By David Saemann - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I am a late convert to the music of Philip Glass. I was skeptical of it for a long time. Then I heard the Metropolitan Opera broadcast of his opera Satyagraha, which I was surprised to find had solid musical values. The same is true of the current CD. I don't think Glass is Bartok or Prokofiev, but that's not the point. He certainly can be mentioned in the same breath as an earlier American master like Howard Hanson. Indeed the Second Symphony, despite its minimalism, has melodies and structures reminiscent of the symphonic masters of the middle of the last century. Glass has said that the writing of Honegger and Milhaud in symphonic form still offers avenues for exploration, and he gleefully picks up their torch in this work. Surprising for minimalism, it even has a real finale that's reminiscent of the first two symphonies of Charles Ives. I have read a published review of this album that calls both works "unrepentant minimalism." That simply isn't true. The Third Symphony, written for 19 string players, is a beautifully accomplished piece of music. At times, particularly in the second movement, it is reminiscent of Stravinsky's concertos for strings. And in the sonorities of the last movement, there is even an evocation (unintentional?) of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera. This is a very enjoyable disc, beautifully played and recorded.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very engrossing Aug. 7 2005
By W. Kosar - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to sections 1 through 4 of symphony #3 several times in the day since I got this CD. These tracks are very engrossing and makes one think of the soundtrack from an adventure saga where there is a continuous rhythm of travel.

Symphony number 2 is less interesting to me but for the price the symphony #3 tracks are great.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly engineered recording March 10 2011
By Hunter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
If you're a Glass fan, this recording of Symphonies No. 2 and No. 3 can't be beat for audio engineering and conducting.

Very clear, great stereo separation of the orchestra and mic'ing of the instruments. Because of the great recording engineering, Marin Alsop's great conducting and control of the Glass machine is right there to be enjoyed; thus perfectly providing the subtleties of the textures Glass had in mind I bet. (The low bass drum comes to mind, for instance... which rings low over the ensemble wonderfully in this recording.)

I prefer this over the Dennis Russell Davies recording by leaps and bounds.

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