Table of Contents
Philip Glass – Glassworks (sheet music)
Philip Glass (b. 1937)
Philip Glass (1937- ) was born in Baltimore, Maryland on January 31, 1937. The grandson of jewish immigrants from Lithuania, his father owned a record store, which had a large number of recordings. Study the flute in e l Peabody Conservatory of Music . At the age of 15 he entered the University of Chicago to study mathematics and philosophy. Discover the techniques serials of Webern and composed string quartet.
He studied at the Juilliard School of Music specializing in piano. Among his teachers of composition are to Vincent Persichetti. In 1959, wins a prize composition of the BMI Foundation . During the summer of 1960 he studied with Darius Milhaud, composing a Concerto for the violin”.
From 1963 to 1965 he studied in Paris composition with Nadia Boulanger, analyzing scores of the great classics. Working with Ravi Shankar in a soundtrack for the film “Chappaqua”, traveling in 1966 to India where it is associated with tibetan refugees and began to interest himself in buddhism. In 1972, they will be in contact with Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, since then, a great advocate of his cause.
On his return to the united States begins to write plays in a new language, away from the structures learned from Milhaud. It is based on structures repetitive basis of what will be called minimalism. Written for the teatro experimental interested in Samuel Beckett. To interpret his music, far away from the current-traditional, form a group in the city of New York, whose components are Steve Reich, Jon Gibson. His personal style account with the sympathies of an audience progressive.
To earn a living working as a taxi driver, founding an agency of transport with Steve Reich, and as an assistant to the sculptor Richard Serra. It separates and later Reich founded the Philip Glass Ensemble , an extended set that in addition to keyboards incorporates saxophones, flutes and the voices of soprano. His works are minimalist, with repetitive structures diatonic. Culminating in his “Music in Twelve Parts” , written between 1971 and 1974.
Minimalist music appears in the united States at the end of the 1960s, employed at first by Michael Nyman. It is based on the use of a harmony consonant that moves at a steady pace, with slow transformations. The musical phrases are repetitive, divided frequently in small units, in the form of cells repetitive. They are also used influences of non-western as Indian music. Among the most known composers that use this style are also of Philip Glass, John Adams, Michael Nyman, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Louis Andriessen, and La Monte Young.
His collaboration with the musical theatre is what will give you the possibility of being known. His first opera, “Eintein on the Beach” composed in 1975 is considered by critics as a work of art. Then comprises “Satyagraha” in 1980, based in part on the life of Gandhi and finished his trilogy opera with “Akhnaten” composed between 1983 and 1984, with texts of ancient Egypt and the Bible.
Among the works written for Beckett found the “Company” composed for the 1983 novel of the same name. Then it became the “string Quartet No. 2”, performing in addition to a version for string orchestra.
Philip Glass’ symphonies
Glass begins to write plays for the symphonic music, employing a style that we can call post-minimalist. Among them are the “violin Concerto” composed in 1987, which was recorded by Gidon Kremer and the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Christoph von Dohnányi in 1993. His work “The Light” composed in 1987, is based on a scientific fact. The Michelson-Morley experiment corroborates the uniform speed of light, confirming the theories of the relativistic Einstein.
The “Symphony No. 1” (Low Symphony) was composed in the spring of 1992, and is based on the album Low rocker David Bowie. It was premiered in Munich on 30 August 1992, performed by the Junge Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie directed by Dennis Russell Davies. Glass I think the work in collaboration with Bowie and Brian Eno.
The work is constructed in three movements, with titles from the album Low of David Bowie appeared in 1977. Years later, I would return to collaborate on his fourth symphony, as we will see later.
The first movement, Subterraneans , is based on the song of the same title written in 1977 by David Bowie. Combining this material with other own Glass, using the minimalist techniques. It is a fusion between music, pop and classical. A music-inspired romantic subjected to variations minimalist.
The second movement, Some Are , is based on the song written by David Bowie and Brian Eno. A topic of rhythmic character is accompanied by a repetitive harmony. The lyrical theme is accompanied by the rhythm ostinato . After several variations thematic recapitulation brings us to repeat the original topic to lead us to a quiet coda.
The last movement, Warszawa , it’s also based on a song written by David Bowie and Brian Eno in 1977. It starts dramatically with bell-like sounds and themes in the records serious. The issue arises from the depths forming slowly. The melodic lines are clarified in the central part to lead us then to the recapitulation.
The “Symphony No. 2” was made on a request of the Brooklyn Academy of Music , and premiered there on 15 October 1994, performed by the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Dennis Russell Davies, a big advocate of the music of Glass. It is an abstract work of music with pure, without which its three movements take any informational or indication of tempo.
The first movement, presented to us by the clarinet is a topic that is dramatic, accompanied by insistent repeated chords. The theme grows in intensity and drama, with its repetitive accompaniment. The central section has an increase in the tempo of the figure of accompaniment, while the development of the subject becomes intensely dramatic.
The rate increases by presenting the typical oscillations of the string of the music of Glass. The music becomes more rough. Then the pace mechanistic imposed, until he calms in the final part, appearing the melody with a more sad and desolate.
The second movement starts at the same point in that it has finished the previous movement. The music continues to be submerged in the darkness. The main theme expressed despair. Reborn the rhythmic figures features that change like a kaleidoscope, with its repetitive nature. After a silence, the topic grim returns to arise. Repetitive beats increase the tension, with various changes of pace. In the final part repeats the melody in a persistent manner, ending with a coda that is fading.
The last movement, changes the character of the work. A rhythmic figure repeated with changes of tempo, it introduces us to a topic that is more positive. The music becomes more luminous. In the central part. a long section of a repetitive character, leads to a series of short interventions melodic of the wood. The music stirs in the form of a whirlwind in the final part, accompanied by percussion, to lead us to the coda.
A typical symphony of type minimalist, using melodic shapes, divided into small fragments, which are immersed in a sea of repetitive rhythms. Use the politonalidad or is that the music is in more than one key simultaneously, but in a way that does not produce dissonance. Composers such as Honegger, or Milhaud make use of the politonalidad, overlapping the colours so that the harmony suffers producing dissonance. Glass works with a language that is more acoustic, with changes to deceive in some way to the ear, as if listening to different things, depending on the focus of attention in which it is concentrated.
The “Symphony No. 3” was composed in 1995 by an order of the Würth Foundation for the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra . It is orchestrated for 19 stringed instruments, six first violins, four seconds, four violas, three violoncellos and two double basses, using them as solo instruments. It was released on February 5, 1995 for the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra conducted by Dennis Russell Davies in the German town of Künzelsau.
Divided into the four traditional movements of the symphony, is designed for a chamber orchestra whose members to interpret it in a way as if you touched on various string quartets. The movements lack of indications in their titles.
The first movement, it is written as a prelude to the two middle movements of the work. A pretty quiet is repeated with small variations, accompanied by repetitive harmonies. A series of pizzicati lead us to its end.
The second movement, featuring a repetitive mode a topic that is more vigorous, which employs forms interpreted in unison and other multiarmónicas used in your writing overall. Moving to a new topic expressed in pizzicato . In the final part a melodic theme with a certain air of eastern opposed to pizzicato .
The third movement has the form of a chaconne by starting with a sequence of repeated harmony. It begins by using the three cellos and four violas, adding new voices to each repetition. In different variations participate instruments as soloists. At the end of the movement involved the 19 instrumentalists.
The last movement, returns to the final theme of the second movement. The theme has a higher strength to the rhythm, using different variations. In the final part introduces a new theme that brings the work to a quiet conclusion.
A work with a more austere than the previous one, using also forms poliarmónicas. The fund has characteristics of academic, which is defined as a true symphony, by its structure and purpose.
The “Symphony No. 4” (Heroes) was composed in 1996, based on the music of David Bowie and Brian Eno, as he had done in his first symphony. On this occasion, the Glass chooses six tracks from his album Heroes appeared in 1977, which give a title to each of the movements.
David Bowie born in London in 1947, is a singer and composer of music pop , which has had a great influence on the development of rock. Their style has evolved since the folk-rock , when glam rock , the soul and electronic music. In 1977 he moved to Berlin where he made three albums known as the Berlin Trilogy . Live with Iggy Pop, desintoxicándose of your strong addiction to the drug. The first album produced in this stage is Low in 1977, followed Heroes also in 1977 and Lodger in 1979. They collaborated with Brian Eno, with great influence of krautrock and German electronic music.
Brian Eno is another british musician born in 1948, who works in the field of electronic music. The term known as ambient music seem to be from their origin through their discs Ambient, as Music for Airports or Day of Radiance. He collaborated with David Bowie as a lyricist and composer is his Berlin Trilogy . Recently, he has collaborated in the development of the music generator algorithmic Koan.
The first movement, Heroes, begins by a theme announced by the tubes on the rhythm of the bass. Gradually, a fragment theme of the original song increases its activity, appearing with greater clarity. The theme is inspired on the Berlin Wall. The melodic elements written by Bowie and Eno are integrated in a piecemeal manner in the music composed by the Glass, without ever getting to be imposed. The motifs are repeated using structures variants. In the final part returns to the initial theme of the tubes with the rhythm of the bass.
The second movement, Abdulmajid, begins with the sound of the castanets on strings pulsed to introduce a topic meditative of arab roots. The percussion and celesta add delicate notes. The issue becomes more dramatic with an accompaniment something sinister. The music is dark, but the issue appears bathed in a deep romance with roots hispanoárabes, always accompanied by the repetitive rhythm. In the final part of the theme is played by the flute on the rhythm of the bass in pizzicato.
The third movement, Sense of Doubt , it starts with a sinister motive descending the metal contrasting with the chords of the rope. On a rhythmic base, the wood presents us with a melodic theme, followed by the string. The music becomes more lively as it repeats the theme and are adding more instruments in each new interpretation. After a sudden pause, listening again to the initial motif of the metal, finishing off with the chords of wood
The fourth movement, Sons of the Silent Age , begins so hesitant, before presenting the splendid melodic theme of the song, by the wind on the strings’waves. One of those issues that remain imprinted in the memory after hearing them. The rhythmic accompaniment passes the entire string, the beginning of a crescendo that leads us to the start, on which the main theme returns in its original form, leading to a thoughtful conclusion.
The fifth movement, Neuköln , opens with the intervention of the percussion in the form of chime, alternating with an angular motif of the rope, as a harrowing interrogation. The metal also repeats the question. The rope starts a topic expressive tense. The music focuses on a motif played by the strings, before returning to the interrogative sentences of the rope, repeated by the metal, alternating again with the percussion. The cadence of the rope grave closes the movement.
The last movement, V2 Schneider , begins by a rhythm anime goes metal and percussion. The rope and wood are exciting gradually, gaining the music each time more strongly. The rhythm becomes an ostinato pulsing, on which the reasons are increasing in dynamics. This process culminates in a powerful climax, ending the work with a strong chord.
A work that we would call fusion music between rock and classical. But the structures built by Glass dominate always the situation without desmerezcan the rhythms and melodies devised by Bowie and Eno. We ended the comment with a note written by the composer himself.
“Heroes, such as the Low Symphony composed years before, is based on the work of Bowie and Eno. In a series of innovative recordings made in the late 1970’s, David and Brian combined influences of ethnic music, from the experimental avant-garde and rock and roll, in order to define the future of pop music. The continuing influence of these works has consolidated its size as part of the new “classics” of our time. In the same way that composers of the past took to the popular music of his time to perform new works, the work of Bowie and Eno has become a source of inspiration and a starting point of my own symphonies”.
Philip Glass composed many soundtracks for the film, among which we find written for the film by Martin Scorsese “Kundun” in 1997, which earned him a nomination for the Academy Awards. The work is developed in Tibet, using ethnic instruments.
The “Symphony No. 5” (Choral: Requiem, Bardo, Nirmanakaya) was composed in 1999 for the Festival of Salzburg, and premiered at the Festival on August 28, 1999, interpreted by the Radio Symphonie Orchester Wien, conducted by Dennis Russell Davies. The work is orchestrated for soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone, bass, choir, children’s choir and orchestra. Meant to represent the thinking of all civilizations, using texts of them, as a bridge between the past and the future, focused on the celebration of the second millennium.
The first movement bears the title, Before the Creation , using Sanskrit texts of the Rig Veda , translated into English. They are sung by the mixed choir. We translate the first and the last paragraph of such texts as examples of interest to literary and philosophical.
Then there was nothing, neither non-existence nor existence;
There was neither the space nor the sky which is behind
What caused it? Where? How to in defense of whom?
What had water, with depth without a bottom?
For that cause has produced this creation –
Perhaps it has been made spontaneously, or it may not-
The one that sees everything from above, the Supreme Power,
Only he knows, or perhaps not
The second movement, Creation of the Cosmos , uses texts from the Koran, the Bible, Genesis, the Kumulipo of Hawaii and of the history of the creation zuni , native american. The music employs the voices of the baritone, soprano and choir. The third movement, Creation of Sentient Beings , uses texts from the Nihongi japanese, the Kumulipo hawaiian, tales of the Bulu of Cameroon and of the Boshongo of the tribe bantu africa.
The fourth movement, Creation of Human Beings , uses texts from the Popul Vuh of the Quiche Maya, and the Qur’an. The fifth movement, Love and Joy , uses texts by Rumi a Persian, of the song of Songs biblical and Vidyapati and Jagadananda-Dasa bengali. The sixth movement, Evil and Ignorance , used maya texts, the Maha-Vagga buddhist and sanskrit of the Bhagavad Gita.
The seventh movement, Suffering , employs Hebrew texts of the bible, the Psalms, Job and Hosea, in addition to sáncritos of the Bhagavad Gita . The eighth movement, Compassion , usa chinese texts, sanskrit of the Bodhicaryavatara and Greek bible of the gospel of Matthias. Highlights a melody coral vocalizada at the end of the first songs sanskrit. The ninth movement, Death , uses texts to japanese and sanskrit. It begins with an aria for the tenor of great expressiveness tragic. Throughout the movement, maintains the environment tragic that corresponds to the text.
The tenth movement, Judgment and Apocalypse , uses texts in Arabic of the Qur’an, tibetan Book of the Death and sanskrit from the Vishnu Purana. Continues the dramatic environment that will increase over the verses to the end that described the Revelation. The movement eleventh, Paradise , begins with music more relaxed, by using the soprano who sings texts of Rumi Persian. Follow the tenor with biblical Greek texts of the first letter to the Corinthians. Ends with a duet lyric soprano and tenor on texts hindu Kabir, highlighted by the orchestra.
The last movement, Dedication of Merit , used texts in sanskrit of the Bodhicaryavatara. Use reasons above, performed by the choir and the soprano. Then add the baritone, ending with a coda orchestral and an affirmation of the choir.
Glass interprets the turn of the millennium as a bridge between the past, represented by the Requiem, which includes the first nine movements, the present, the Bard , as a period of transition and finishing off with the Nirmanakaya , a rebirth that represents the future. A work that maintains the interest for the beauty of the texts chosen by uniting all religions in a single thought cosmogonic.
The music follows the personal style of Glass, using themes of populist nature, the way of the symphonies corals from the Greek Theodorakis. We could expand considerably in their analysis, especially the literary, an extensive work which exceeds the hour and a half duration.
The “Symphony No. 6 (Plutonian Ode) was composed in the year 2001, under an order of the Brucknerhaus in Linz and the Carneglie Hall in honor of the 65th anniversary of the Glass. Composed for soprano and orchestra, premiered on February 3, 2002 in the Carneglie Hall of New York, performed by the American Composers Orchestra , with soprano Lauen Flanigan directed by Dennis Russell Davies. It is based on the epic poem “Faqs Ode” written in 1978 by Allen Ginsberg, a work against pollution and nuclear contamination. Divided into three movements, following parts of the poem, which do not carry any descriptive title.
The first movement begins with an atmosphere of uneasiness tragic in the orchestra, before the soprano begins the recitative. An episode of orchestral music of great power rhythmical be sandwiched in the apocalyptic story of the soprano, a song of curse by radioactive Plutonium. A passionate song about pollution radioactive.
The second movement speaks to us of the reserves of Plutonium hidden in the united States, as a source of destruction, by which humanity is paying a price to be unfair. Uses a text contemporary by placing clearly places. The last movement, with more content orchestral, it is a call to all leaders about the danger of Plutonium.
A music with a repetitive character, that of an obsessive invites us to reflect on one of the tragic realities of our time, the tons of metal unnatural that are stored with an end-human, only prepared for destruction. There has been a version of the symphony performed on the texts recited by the poet.
The “Symphony No. 7” (A Toltec Symphony) was composed in the year 2005 for orchestra and chorus. A result of an order of the National Symphony Orchestra for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of its director Leonard Slatkin. It was premiered performed by the orchestra and conductor, with the collaboration of the Master Chorale of Washington , January 20, 2005 at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in the city of Washington. Its title refers to the culture of the indians, toltec, native mexicans before the arrival of europeans. The text belongs to a song of the american indians.
The “Symphony No. 8” was composed in 2005 and premiered on 2 November of that year, performed by the Bruckner Orchester Linz conducted by Dennis Russell Davies at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York city. With her back to the instrumental music pure. Divided into three movement without having any indication of tempo, or other materials extramusicales.
The first movement begins with an exhibition of eight different topics. Based in forms of rhythmic and melodic entirely diatonic, easy construction. These themes are developed widely, separately or in combination, together with the peculiar harmony of Glass. The summary concludes with a section where the subjects interpreted more quickly are mixed, producing an effect contrapuntístico.
The second movement is a slow, taking as its theme a wide passacaglia . The theme is developed in the form of variations, using themes accessories. It ends with the repetition of the theme very slow.
The last movement starts with repeated exposure of its main theme, a topic slow and melodic. A contratema is also repeated two times. A brief development leads us to the coda by an extensive cadenza.
Currently, Glass is currently working on two new symphonies and an opera about the life of Kepler, to be released in 2009. Among his latest works are the soundtracks of the films “Cassandra”s Dream” for Woody Allen and “Les Animaux Amoureux” by Laurent Charbonnier, both in the year 2007. After his opera “Waiting for the Barbarians” of 2005, he premiered “Appomattox” in San Francisco in 2007. In the month of September 2008 has presented at the Expo Zaragoza, the last work written for his group, The Philip Glass Ensemble , “The Landscapes of the River”.
Philip Glass has four children, two from his first wife, the theater director Joanne Akalaitis with whom he married in 1965, divorcing in 1980, and two of his fourth marriage with Holly Critchlow, which lives on today in New York and in Nova Scotia. The composer defines as Jewish, Taoist, Hindu, Toltec and Buddhist religions that have been passionate about throughout his life.