on December 12, 2003
I think that perhaps many of you who are bashing Glass's works would do well to research 20th century music. Philip Glass was a minimalist composer, meaning that he sought to compose music in reduced means, limiting it to the most basic elements. I have seen comments questioning his musicality about his use of chord progressions and repetition, however this is what minimalism is! If you will note some of his contemporaries (such as Steve Reich and John Adams) you will note similar traits among them all. Perhaps those of you who find Glass's music as mediocre should first reserch 20th centrury music. There are many genres for this period in music. I understand if you do not like this style of music, but do not be so quick to degrade it without even researching the principles and ideals behind it!
on February 18, 2004
Music in late XX century needed a review. Things went too far from Stravinsky and Prokofiev to Stockhausen and Boulez, passing through Berg and Schönberg. All has been invented in the XX Century. What should be the new proposals?
Glass is one of the new composers. Too tight to New Age, he has been compared to Nyman and Mertens, because of the usage of a term: minimalism. And in this CD, Glass is really close to this concept, and far from his biggest operas.
Minimalism is repetition. One should consider this a joke, but it is a new concept. And like any other new proposal, it is of the greatest importance in the music of the second part of last century.
However, Glass could have made real variations of his Metemorphosis in order to be a little less minimalist. Number One and Number Five are almost the same. Number Four is my favourite.
In fact, Einstein on the Beach, Akhnaten and Satyagraha are more solid, but this album is a very good way to understand what can be classic and brand-new at the same time.
on June 16, 2004
With its minimalistic, repetitive chords and rhythms, the music in these pieces contains little in the way of traditional "development." This music progresses by flowing along rather than by forming an elaborate structure. As I listen, I feel as if I'm on a treadmill, sometimes walking faster, sometimes slower, but not really getting anywhere. My mind wanders, and I find myself thinking about other things rather than about the music. Perhaps this is how Glass wanted it to be. He has written a lot of film music, and much of his music does, indeed, seem like accompaniment.
This is not unpleasant music. But I find it something less than totally rewarding--seems more like the composition of a amateur.