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Minimal Music - Released September 29, 2003 | Sony Classical

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Minimal Music - Released August 22, 1989 | Sony Classical

Distinctions Stereophile: Record To Die For
Mention "minimalism" and certain names will pop up, both within and outside of the classical world: Terry Riley, Steve Reich, John Adams. The most famous one, however, would be Philip Glass. Unlike most 20th Century composers, Glass has reached far beyond the concert hall: his work includes film soundtracks (THE TRUMAN SHOW, THE THIN BLUE LINE), multimedia presentations ('1000 Airplanes on the Roof"), and collaborations with pop/rock writers/performers (his SONGS FOR LIQUID DAYS album). With SOLO PIANO, Glass presents himself "unplugged" - no electronic keyboards or synthesizers, and no overdubs, either - just solo piano. Here, Glass' connection to the established "classical" tradition is most evident. Though his pieces are "minimal" (subtly altered repeated patterns or melodic motifs), yet they have an unsentimental beauty and heartfelt grace that one would hear in J.S. Bach's English Suites, as well as the piano music of Chopin and Erik Satie. Portions of the suite 'Metamorphosis' are based on Glass' score for THE THIN BLUE LINE; these short pieces are forlornly entrancing without being drippy or "trance-like." The finale, 'Wichita Sutra Vortex,' is a uniquely and quintessentially "American" piece. It draws upon gospel music in the same way Ives and Copland drew from the well of American folk tunes, but where those composers worked in ironic portions or references to the tunes, Glass absorbs the deep feeling and tones of gospel, without recalling any particular song. Both Glass fans and minimalist neophytes should hear this.
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Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 1983 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Minimal Music - Released January 6, 2012 | Sony Classical

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Film Soundtracks - Released December 5, 2002 | Nonesuch - WBR

There are movies where you notice the soundtrack, and others where you don't. The latter is usually considered ideal, and yet it's impossible to ignore Philip Glass' pervasive, all-encompassing soundtrack while watching Stephen Daldy's celebrated follow-up to Billy Elliot (the same could just as easily be said of Elmer Bernstein's majestic music for Far From Heaven). This isn't such a bad thing -- far from it. The piano-dominated score, incorporating motifs from Glass' Satyagraha, Glassworks, and Solo Piano is, by turns, lush, sumptuous, and stirring. Michael Riesman is the pianist, the Lyric Quartet provides the strings, and Nick Ingman is the conductor. The fruits of their labor -- and artistry -- add depth to the action on screen without ever quite overwhelming it. The complicated storyline, based on Michael Cunningham's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel (which was, in turn, inspired by Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway) is inherently dramatic and emotionally compelling enough that it doesn't really "need" music to get its message across. And the actors, including Nicole Kidman (Virginia Woolf), Julianne Moore (Laura Brown), and Meryl Streep (Clarissa Vaughn), breathe such life into these three distinct characters, living in three different time periods, that they don't need really need the music either. But it's always there, like a ghostly presence in each woman's life, helping to tie their divergent storylines together as much as the themes that are common to each. In the end, the score is as much a unifying force as Peter Boyle's deft editing and, most importantly, Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, which was originally to be called The Hours. The CD booklet includes liner notes by Cunningham (focusing on his longtime admiration for Glass), excerpts about each character from his novel, and stills from the film.
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Minimal Music - Released January 13, 2012 | Sony Classical

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Minimal Music - Released August 22, 1989 | Sony Classical

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Film Soundtracks - Released September 29, 2017 | Sony Classical

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Ten years after Laurent Charbonnier’s Les Animaux amoureux, Philip Glass gets back once again into the animal world, with a portrait of the famous primatologist Jane Goodall. The woman who spent most of her life studying chimpanzees was filmed for over 50 years by Hugo Van Lawick, a director employed by National Geographic (and future husband of the scientific). Brett Morgen, to whom we owe an acclaimed documentary on Kurt Cobain (Kurt Cobain, a Montage of Heck), has sorted these hundreds of hours of archive images, and has edited them in a movie put into music by the world famous contemporary composer, known for his minimalist works, among which film scores such as Woody Allen’s Cassandra’s Dream, Martin Scorsese’s Kundun, Peter Weir’s The Truman Show and Stephen Daldry’s The Hours. Performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by Miriam Nemcova, Glass’ soundtrack is like two locomotives travelling in parallel but different tracks: on one side, it’s on a reduced scale, for the scenes where caterpillars are filmed in close-up for example, or those depicting intimate moments between the protagonist and the chimpanzees. The impact of these human size scenes is enriched by the contribution of pianist Michael Riesman and his delicate touch (Time In Gombe). On the other side, music sometimes takes a broader point of view, when it highlights the majesty of African landscapes and Goodall’s outstanding destiny (Perfect Life). In the last case, Glass’ partition realizes Brett Morgen’s will to direct some kind of cinematographic opera with a universal humanist discourse. In this particularly poignant and poetic soundtrack, we find Philip Glass’ usual processes, such as his obsession with repetitive arpeggios, whether played by the solo piano or by the orchestra (Mother). The arpeggio is associated with musical learning, as this succession of notes forming a chord is part of the obligatory exercises of a novice pianist. The idea of the composer is thus to reflect the “young” and innovating aspect of Goodall’s scientific work. As pointed out by the title of the track Time Of Discovery, Jane Goodall is a true modern-day discoverer. Glass’ music also reflects the idea of a somewhat biased familiarity. Therefore, the harmonies from the main theme (In The Shadow of Man) operate on a scale that on the surface may seem overwhelmingly simple, in the most common mode possible (the major mode). But before arriving safe and sound, the scale deviates towards unexpected chords, causing some kind of unease for the listener. The chimpanzees’ behavior disturbingly resembles human behavior, but there are differences of course, expressed by this “distorted” major scale. With such ideas, Glass proves once again that he is a great composer whose music accompanies with intelligence and emotion what happens on screen. © NM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released July 31, 2007 | Nonesuch

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Classical - Released December 9, 2016 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released February 5, 2007 | Nonesuch - Warner Records

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Classical - Released December 9, 2016 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released October 1, 2001 | Sony Classical

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Film Soundtracks - Released August 28, 2015 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released December 14, 2017 | Syrinx

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Classical - Released September 11, 1995 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released January 26, 2007 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released December 9, 2016 | Sony Classical

The usual stuff is here: arpeggio versus ostinato, ostinato versus arpeggio. And as always, the Philip Glass Ensemble's synthesizers double their woodwinds. But Glassworks is the most pleasant craftwork ever from the great minimalist exploiter -- six warm pieces that approach the spirit of minimalist pioneer Erik Satie. Only instead of Satie's lyrical-to-antic jumps, Glass creates the ruminative-to-excitable kind. "Opening"'s softly rolled piano melody is music to fold your hands and muse by, and when Sharon Moe's French horn sets up "Floe," everything seems nice and level -- until the flailing woodwinds and synthesizers of the ensemble crash in. Glassworks is tuneful in the most pleasingly direct sense -- the arrangements define the melodies so cleanly they're instantly memorable. In addition, the album is programmed with a particular shape in mind. It's kind of a waveform, where every other relaxed melody is upset by a classic Glass rush -- "Floe" is even outpaced by "Rubric"'s honking saxophones and enough cascading counterpoint to give David Helfgoff a case of carpal tunnel syndrome. These two tunes are so disruptive, so complex, that it's easy to think that they dominate the whole project. But they're also the shortest tunes on the album. Most of the time, harmonies bob around in the strings and woodwinds, though Jon Gibson's soprano sax glides atop "Facades." "Closing," based on "Opening" (funny), contains his second prettiest orchestration after the finale of Satyagraha. In fact, it's probably the source of Glass' subsequent reputation in the new age music industry. Of interest to those who keep up with Glass' re-use of his work: "Rubric" was originally intended for use in Godfrey Reggio's movie Koyanisqqaatsi. It was re-used along with "Facades" on the 1987 album Dancepieces. "Opening," "Floe," "Facades," and "Rubric" were performed in Peter Greenaway's film 4 American Composers, devoted to Glass and his ensemble; in this performance segment, Dora Ohrenstein's vocals replace "Floe"'s brass section. ~ John Young
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Pop - Released January 1, 1977 | EMI Catalogue

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Classical - Released May 31, 2017 | Classic Records

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Philip Glass in the magazine
  • Video interview with Woodkid
    Video interview with Woodkid We met with Philip Glass fan Woodkid, who recently crossed paths with his idol at the Festival Nouveau Siècle de Saint-Étienne. The French musician and videographer discussed the influence of minim...