The Best of Philip Glass (incls 'Lightning', 'Facades' & 'Evening Song')

The Best of Philip Glass (incls 'Lightning', 'Facades' & 'Evening Song') cover $30.00 In Stock add to cart

The Best of Philip Glass (incls 'Lightning', 'Facades' & 'Evening Song')
Douglas Perry. Paul Esswood / The Philip Glass Ensemble / New York City Opera Orchestra & Chorus. Dennis Russell Davies

[ Sony Essential Masterworks / 2 CD ]

Release Date: Saturday 20 August 2016

"Philip Glass is surely the world's best-known living serious composer. His is a readily identifiable, if ever controversial, style that is both imitated and parodied the world over. He is familiar to pop audiences, crossover audiences, new music audiences, opera audiences and increasingly to chamber music audiences and symphony goers," (Gramophone)

Born in Baltimore, Maryland on January 31, 1937, Philip Glass discovered music in his father's radio repair shop that carried a line of records in addition to servicing radios. To figure out why recordings of great chamber works sold poorly, Ben Glass would take them home to play for his three children. Philip rapidly became familiar with Beethoven quartets, Schubert sonatas, Shostakovich symphonies and other music then considered "offbeat." It was not until he was in his upper teens that Glass encountered more "standard" classics.

At six, Glass began music lessons and at eight, took up the flute. But by the time he was 15, he became frustrated with the flute's limited repertoire as well as with musical life in post-war Baltimore. During his second year in high school, he applied for admission to the University of Chicago, passed and, with his parent's encouragement, moved to Chicago where he supported himself with part-time jobs waiting tables and loading airplanes at airports. He majored in mathematics and philosophy, and during off-hours practiced piano and concentrated on such composers as Ives and Webern.

At 19, Glass graduated from the University of Chicago with majors in mathematics and philosophy. Determined to become a composer, he moved to New York and attended the Juilliard School. By then he had abandoned the 12-tone techniques he had been using in Chicago and began gravitating toward American composers like Aaron Copland and William Schuman.

By 23, Glass had studied with Vincent Persichetti, Darius Milhaud and William Bergsma. Rejecting serialism, Glass preferred such maverick composers as Harry Partch, Charles Ives, Moondog, Henry Cowell and Virgil Thomson - but still had not found his own voice. He then moved to Paris and spent two years of intensive study under Nadia Boulanger.

In Paris, he was hired by a filmmaker to transcribe the Indian music of Ravi Shankar into notation readable to Western musicians. In the process, he discovered the techniques of Indian music. After researching music in North Africa, India and the Himalayas, he returned to New York, renouncing his previous music, and applying Eastern techniques to his own work.

By 1974, Glass had composed a large collection of new music for both the Mabou Mines Theater Company that Glass co-founded and for his own performing group, the Philip Glass Ensemble. This period culminated in Music in 12 Parts, a three-hour summation of Glass' new music. In 1976 Glass reached an apogee in his collaboration with Robert Wilson, creating the opera Einstein on the Beach, a five-hour epic that is now seen as a landmark in 20th-century music theater. Glass then decided to make Einstein part of a trilogy that resulted in the creation of the operas Satyagraha and Akhnaten.

Over the years, Glass and Wilson have worked together on several other projects: Civil Wars (Rome) - Act V of the multi-composer epic which was written for the 1984 Olympics; White Raven, an opera commissioned by Portugal to celebrate its history of discovery, premiered at EXPO '98 in Lisbon and performed as part of the 2001 Lincoln Center Festival; and Monsters of Grace, a digital 3-D opera.

Glass has also collaborated with a variety of artists in a range of projects. His operas include: The Making of the Representative for Planet 8 and Marriages Between Zones Three, Four and Five with librettos written by Doris Lessing and based on her novels; Hydrogen Jukebox, libretto by Allen Ginsberg and based on his poetry; The Voyage, based on the exploration of Christopher Columbus, written by David Henry Hwang; and The Fall of the House of Usher, based on the Poe short story. Glass film scores include Godfrey Reggio's Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi; Errol Morris' The Thin Blue Line and A Brief History of Time; Paul Shrader's Mishima; Bernard Rose's Candyman; and an original score for the re-release of the1930 Dracula with Bela Lagosi. In addition, Glass has written music for dance with In the Upper Room, choreographed by Twyla Tharp, and A Descent into the Maelstrom. Then there are the unclassifiable theater pieces such as: The Photographer, The Mysteries and What's So Funny?, as well as 1000 Airplanes on the Roof with a libretto by David Henry Hwang and designs by Jerome Sirlin. Glass has also created a trilogy of musical theater pieces based on the films of Jean Cocteau - Orphée, La Belle et La Bête and Les Enfants Terribles. Lastly, Glass has been involved in cooperative recording projects like Songs from Liquid Days with lyrics by David Byrne, Paul Simon, Laurie Anderson and Suzanne Vega, as well as a collaboration with Ravi Shankar entitled Passages.

Glass's orchestral works include the large-scale work for chorus and orchestra, Itaipu; Symphony No. 5, another large choral work that draws from texts of wisdom traditions throughout the world; and Symphony Nos. 2 and 3, the Low and Heroes Symphonies, both based on the music of David Bowie and Brian Eno.


Evening Song (from Satyagraha)
The Photographer - Gentleman's Honor
Hymn To The Sun (from Akhnaten)
Metamorphosis Four
Open the Kingdom (Liquid Days, Part Two)
In the Upper Room: Dance II
Glasspiece No. 1 (Rubric)
Changing Opinion (Songs from Liquid Days)

Opening from 'Glassworks'
Glassworks: Floe
Knee Play No. 4 (from Einstein on the Beach)
Funeral of Amenhotep III
Wichita Vortex Sutra
Forgetting (songs from Liquid Days)
In the Upper Room: Dance IX