‘An Uncommonly Crowd-Pleasing Piece Of Music’
So maybe the new weekly blog post coming to PhilipGlass.com on Mondays won’t be the first stop every author makes on his or her read-in for the day. But you could do worse.
Richard Guerin has begun editing “Glass Notes” each week, and the very first thing we read there this Monday was that Glass’ Symphony No. 10 release fromOrange Mountain Music was chosen by Q2 Music as its Album of the Week.
Even for Glass, this is an uncommonly crowd-pleasing piece of music.
Thanks to Glass’ long friendship with conductor Dennis Russell Davies — we wrote about this in our Thought Catalog #MusicForWriters interview with Davies’ wife, the pianist Maki Namekawa — he has ducked the superstition around a ninth symphony and returned to his symphonic canon with the exhilaration of a man who reached No. 10. The work couldn’t be in better hands than with Davies and the Bruckner Orchester Linz in this smart, agile evocation.
Do you know Glass’ superb Days and Nights in Rocinha? When the grandeur of his 10th Symphony starts to get to you — and you realize that both the instrumentation and the majestic cadences and builds are reminding you of Rocinha — know that this symphony premiered in 2008 as Los Paisajes del Rio, a work written to cap that year’s Expo Zaragoza Spain. It won’t surprise you to learn that the 10th started life as a fireworks piece, meant to accompany the show’s closing pyrotechnics at waterside, gorgeous.
The composer then went to work setting the piece for full symphony when it became apparent that closing fireworks fests wouldn’t offer a lot of chances for performances. And, as the articulate Guerin’s fine liner notes tell us, Glass was ready for a logical question:
The reason composers re-use pieces is not because they run out of ideas. The reason is because you have a good piece buried in a piece of music that no one is ever going to play…So you have to put it into a new format. I’d say that this music was saved from sure oblivion by putting it into this symphony.
And even the composer seems to be glad things went as they did. The original, he says — the last of a marvelous repertoire composed for the long-running Glass Ensemble — couldn’t be adequately performed with the instrumentation available in that smaller (but much-loved) group. Full orchestration kicks open the result you hear now, with its busy, clanging opening and rugged, celestial apex in the closing fifth movement.
About 35 minutes long, the 10th basically sets dancing everything we know Glass for. Fraught with interrupted lines, hammered along by its own relentless percussion, this is the world of racing clouds and banging chords that we love, a picture of our time that no one else has painted with such a palette. There’s no other like him.
There’s more: Read the full story at Thought Catalog
By Porter Anderson
Writing on the Ether: #MusicForWriters: Philip Glass’ ‘ Not Ninth’ Symphony
Originally published by Thought Catalog at www.ThoughtCatalog.com