Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Minimalism, Part 1 of 4


I got an email from my nephew the other day. He read my profile where it says I like Philip Glass and wanted to know what my favorite Glass pieces were. I’ve been meaning to write about my favorite minimalist composers for quite some time since their music inspired me in the way religion inspires others.

I remember the day I first tuned into minimalism. I was driving my Subaru Brat South on Route 17. I had just passed the Ridgewood exit when the sounds of the Philip Glass opera, Einstein on the Beach blessed my speakers. It was being broadcast on WBAI. I had a destination, but I just kept driving for hours as the opera played on. When it was over I went into Sam Goody and walked out with the box set on Tomato Records. I think I spent nearly a month listening constantly to each side. I was reborn.

Soon I had tickets in my hand to see it performed live at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The opera was over three and a half hours in length.

Since then I’ve become nearly as enamored with several of he other operas and appreciate his other work strongly, but nothing can top my first love of Einstein on the Beach. If you look at the Glass discography there seems to be thousands of recordings. His music turns up in so many films and even commercials. I failed to keep up with all of his stuff, but I still pop in my ear buds from time to time and listen to my favorite operas.

There is a remarkable video linked here of the abbreviated story of the production of the opera.

4 Comments:

Blogger darev2005 said...

Hmmm... I wonder sometimes about performance art. I have trouble getting it. I listen to a few pieces from "glassworks" and liked those, but the stuff from Einstein on the beach was just beyond me, for the most part. I think I would have enjoyed the music without the chanting and weird muttering going on in the background.

7:20 AM  
Blogger Trop said...

I'm ambivalent about Phillip Glass. I want to like him, except that after a while, everything he's written sounds all the same. I thought his score for the film The Hours ruined the film.

8:32 AM  
Blogger mark said...

I heard a Glass piece, can't remember which one, performed in Berkeley in the 1970s. But a Subaru Brat: WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?

8:38 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Darev, it was what got me into Opera, but to each their own.

Trop I can see where that comes from, but it equally made Koyaanaqasti. It all can sound the same, but his operas move along quite nicely for me.

Mark, Berkly in the 70's? That explains a lot ; )
The Brat was great. I was one of the first people to own one in the US. I used it like a truck and the 4 wheel drive always got me through the mud and snow. I've had three Subarus since then.

5:17 AM  

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