"Music in 12 Parts would most likely be classified as a minimal work, it was a breakthrough for me and contains many of the structural and harmonic ideas that would be fleshed out in my later works. It is a modular work, one of the first such compositions, with twelve distinct parts which can be performed separately in one long sequence, or in any combination or variation."
Fans of Bang on a Can and Philip Glass may grab "5ths" impulsively, but all others should approach this disc with caution. Music in Fifths and Two Pages may be classic Glass works, from 1969 and 1968, respectively, and their place in the development of his style of minimalist music is undeniable. However, Music in Fifths is austere and edgy, and the emphasis on tight ensemble playing in parallel fifths puts a premium on the group's physical stamina. But the music is relentless and tiring after the first few minutes. The rapid, repetitive melody in organum voicing changes slightly over the course of 24 minutes, but only the most persevering listener will be able to detect the subtle rhythmic shifting. Two Pages may offer a change of color and texture, but the relief is brief indeed, for this piece runs on its narrow pitch material for 27 minutes, without significant changes other than the shortening or elongation of cycles. These pieces are among Glass' most severe works, and come well before the comparatively lush pattern pieces of the late '70s and the neo-Romantic scores of the 1980s.
On 30 June 1999, the ensemble Alter Ego performed a concert of works by Philip Glass at the Opera Paese Gallery in Rome, one of the most innovative musical venues in the city and where Alter Ego has played regularly since 1996. Glass himself was present at this performance which was a replica of his own famous debut concert at the New York Film-Makers Cinemateque in September 1968. Under the guidance of Pietro Fortuna, the artists of the Opera Paese Gallery faithfully reconstructed the geometric installations which Glass had originally called for at that first performance. And over thirty years later, the audience in Rome gave the concert the same positive, enthusiastic reception it had enjoyed in New York — to the extent that Glass himself was suprised, as indeed he was by the modernity and abstract nature of several of his early compositions which he had neither played nor heard since that time.
A uniquely intimate portrait of the music icon, Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts explores the contemporary composer's creative process in opera, concert, and film, interwoven with candid scenes of his personal and spiritual life. In July 2005, filmmaker Scott Hicks started shooting a documentary about the composer Philip Glass to celebrate his 70th birthday in 2007. Over the next 18 months, he followed Glass across three continents, from his annual ride on the Coney Island Cyclone roller coaster, to the world premiere of his new opera in Germany, to a performance with a didgeridoo virtuoso in Australia.
Icebreaker’s newest release, Philip Glass’ Music with Changing Parts is representative of an exciting new generation’s interest in one of the most important composers of our time.
Icebreaker is considered by many to be the United Kingdom’s leading new music ensemble. The 13-piece group, which tours extensively, has been an active champion of many of today’s most important composers.
Philip Glass’ 1970 score Music with Changing Parts has been part of the group’s touring repertoire for years. This recording brings a vivid re-imagining and fresh interpretation to one of Glass’ greatest scores.
By the time Philip Glass wrote the music on this CD; Music for Voices in 1970, and Another Look at Harmony, Part 4 in 1970-1975, he had already established his voice as one of the main architects of the minimalist music movement. Though he disparages the term, minimalist, he has accepted the classification, but with the distinction that it only applies only to his earliest pieces, those up to and including Music in Twelve Parts.
While a few of Philip Glass's classic early scores such as Music in Similar Motion (1969) and Music in Twelve Parts (1974) have remained relatively well-known and have earned something of a cult status, a number of works he wrote beforehand are hardly known, or known about. The two above-mentioned scores, as anyone who has heard them will undoubtedly agree, demand a phenomenal degree of virtuosity from the players. Such virtuosity —a term which in the present case in particular covers stamina, structural sensitivity and a relaxed quality recalling certain kinds of jazz— was something that, as the composer readily points out, had to be worked towards in the interests of developing his new musical language.
For 18 months director Scott Hicks (Shine, No Reservations) followed composer Philip Glass around with a video camera capturing all aspects of his life. His film provides an intimate look at Glass as a family man, delves into his spiritual life and produces some insights on how he composes music. Orange Mountain Music’s soundtrack to “GLASS: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts” contains much of the music from the film including a wide variety of music from every part of Philip Glass’s career. Included on this collection are selections from Einstein on the Beach, Etoile Polaire, Glass’ music for solo piano, and more.
Krenek’s Karl V is the kind of opera that can be appreciated on several different levels. (…) Remarkably, it’s the earliest large-scale opera to use the 12-note system, though Krenek triumphantly refutes the notion that adherence to this technique inhibits creativity and emotional power. The composer’s widow has claimed that this performance, recorded in connection with the Beethoven Festival in Bonn last year, is by far the finest she has ever heard. With wonderful singing from David Pittman-Jennings as Karl and superb commitment from conductor Marc Soustrot and his fine orchestra, there is little reason to disagree with this verdict.
In 2002 Philip Glass composed the soundtrack score to the Stephen Daldry film "The Hours". The film went on to receive 9 Acadamy Awards nominations, including one for ‘best score’. At the beginning of the film, Daldry depicts the timelessness of small daily events, how the real elements of life are patterns that repeat across time. The movie opens with three women from three different eras intercut, all doing similar things. There's Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) in 1923, a troubled young mother (Julianne Moore) in 1951 and a woman (Meryl Streep) in 2001 making preparations for a party later that evening. In one location flowers are bought, in another displayed, in another discarded. Philip Glass' score intensely underlines the images with a sense of strangeness and sympathy. Michael Riesman, Mr. Glass’ longtime musical director and producer of the film score recordings, created solo piano adaptations of the original score and has been performing them in concert.