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Philip Glass Piano Music – Ruhr Piano Festival (FLAC)

Philip Glass Piano Music - Ruhr Piano Festival (FLAC)

Philip Glass Piano Music - Ruhr Piano Festival (FLAC)

Composer: Philip Glass
Performer: Russel Davies, Maki Namekawa
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 1
Format: FLAC (tracks+cue)
Label: Orange Mountain Music
Size: 211 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

01. Movement I – Four Movements for Two Pianos
02. Movement II – Four Movements for Two Pianos
03. Movement III – Four Movements for Two Pianos
04. Movement IV – Four Movements for Two Pianos
05. Etude No. 1
06. Etude No. 2
07. Etude No. 3
08. Etude No. 4
09. Etude No. 5
10. Etude No. 6
11. Morning Passages from The Hours
12. Escape! from The Hours
13. The Poet Acts from The Hours

easy listening. Aficionados of Glass will like it

I regularly come back to Glass – if so many people seem to enjoy his music, would I be missing something? – and regularly fail to be convinced. It is not the repetition I mind (like everybody, I am fond of Ravel’s Bolero, and there is some repetitive music that I enjoy), but the easy and predictable harmonies, the “film music” nature of it, its “music for the uncultured masses” side. Must the composition level, the use of harmonic relations, really be that of a first-year college music student? I wonder if Glass writes it because he believes in it, or only because he has an audience for it. But I won’t say that “anybody with a basic music training can write that kind of music” (you know, the old story about your 2-year old being able to draw a Picasso), since only Glass seems to write it. Is it because the music student soon moves to level 2 and then wants to write more demanding music?

Be that as it may, the best I can say of this recording is that it is typical Glass, and that it is easy listening and inconspicuous, and atmospheric in its own, undemanding way. See, I’m giving it four stars. I even thought the dynamic and clockwork 6th Etude for solo piano lovely, almost of Boogie-woogie character (and at 9:16, it is also the longest individual piece on the disc). The repetitive Keyboard Studies of Terry Riley are high-strung and can easily crawl on your nerves (see my review of Terry Riley: Keyboard Studies 1 & 2; Tread on the Trail). Not so with the piano music of Glass: it is sweet and soothing, you can easily hear without really listening, there is nothing that will jar you out of whatever your mind is set upon. Great background music. Atmospheric but (and?) undemanding. The Four Movements for two pianos were commissioned by the Ruhr Festival at the instigation of pianists Dennis Russell Davies and Maki Namekawa and had its premiere in July 2008 in Essen; I don’t know if the recording is that of the premiere, but it is live from Essen, 7 July. The 6 Piano Etudes (played here by Russell Davies) are book 1 of a cycle commenced in the mid 1990s at the suggestion of Russell Davies, a long time associate and partner of Glass. The recital is topped off by three piano pieces (played by Maki Namekawa) adapted by Michael Riesman (another longtime associate and champion of Glass) from the film score written for Stephen Daldry’s film The Hours. They are sweet, the kind of music to make a young evanescent blond teen-ager hazily photographed by David Hamilton wistfully tip her head to the side.

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