Sunday, January 31, 2021

Art of Glass

As promised, we're finishing off the year's opening month with the second of two Phils.

Today's birthday person was born in 1937, and is thankfully still a force.

He is a testimony to what can happen if you're lucky enough to grow up hanging out at your dad's record shop, which when he was a child was the hippest spot in Baltimore.

And also if you're fortunate enough to spend a good chunk of the 1960s studying composition and composers with Nadia Boulanger in Paris.

Upon return from Europe, he began to fashion compositions built from repetition.

As this movement grew around him, it came to be called Minimalism.

Now, decades later, this is a fully functional genre of music, and has spread its influence across many different forms where less can be called upon to be more.

In those intervening decades, Philip Glass has scored multiple films -- including classics like Mishima and the Qatsi trilogy -- as well as ballets, TV shows, operas, and of course his very distinctive Ensemble pieces.
Almost universally thought of as the most influential composer of the second half of the 20th Century, it's nearly impossible to conceive of modern music at all without his contributions and the framework he made permissible.

Let's celebrate his 84th b'day with this incredible concert he gave in Vienna in the early 1980s, as part of the big record company push to get his music crossed over to huge sales. It almost worked!

The Philip Glass Ensemble
Großer Konzertsaal
Vienna, Austria

01 Dance 1 (Field with Spaceship) (from "Einstein On the Beach," Act II, Scene 1)
02 Floe (from "Glassworks")
03 The Grid (from "Koyaanisqatsi")
04 Rubric (from "Glassworks")
05 Façades  (from "Glassworks")
06 Act I: A Gentleman's Honor (from "The Photographer")
07 Act III (from "The Photographer")
08 Spaceship (from "Einstein On the Beach," Act 4, Scene 3)

Total time: 1:23:21
disc break goes after Track 04

The Philip Glass Ensemble: 
Philip Glass - synthesizer
Michael Riesman - keyboards & bass synthesizer 
Marin Alsop - violin 
Jon Gibson - flute & soprano saxophone
Jack Kripl - flute, piccolo, soprano & baritone saxophones
Dora Ohrenstein - soprano & Emulator synthesizer
Richard Peck - flute & alto & tenor saxophones
Brian Zeger - keyboards
Kurt Munkacsi - live sound mix
Dan Dryden - sound assistant & recording

sounds like a master off-air FM reel of the complete broadcast, deglitched and denoised by an unspecified soundperson

This performance sees The PG Ensemble in absolute, commanding full flight and features some of the man's most iconic and representative compositions. 
It's also about as delicious an off-air FM capture as you're gonna get, especially since someone (not sure who) took the effort to clean it up into its Sunday best.

So that does it for January! Now I'm off to figure out February, but before I go I wanted to thank you all for reading my page and wish Maestro Philip Glass the greatest of all birthdays!--J.