Attracted by a delightful fusion of early music sonorities with modern expressiveness, the three composers in this amazingly rich and varied programme build on the magnificent harpsichord concerto legacy of JS Bach. John Rutter’s beautiful Suite Antique is full of rich and haunting themes, with a significant solo flute part and a jazzy Waltz which is as much Brubeck as Bach. Philip Glass delivers an exciting experience of virtuoso instrumental blending and solo expressiveness, and with typical wit and elegance. Jean Françaix’s Concerto is terrific fun throughout.
The CD combines Bach's Goldberg Variations with the Metamorphosis of Philip Glass and offers a confrontation between two completely different musical worlds.
To say this barrier-breaking string quartet plays modern music is an understatement. All of the five composers showcased on this audacious recording were born in the 20th century. Minimalist Philip Glass is among the best known of the five, whose works cannot possibly be mistaken with anything from the baroque or classical periods. This particular foursome illustrates the grace, beauty, and even power of a string quartet, but goes well beyond. In the words of first violinist and leader David Harrington, "I've always wanted the string quartet to be vital, and energetic, and alive, and cool, and not afraid to kick ass and be absolutely beautiful and ugly if it has to be." The album-ending cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic "Purple Haze" must be heard to be believed.
Violinist Tim Fain has worked extensively with minimalist composer Philip Glass in performances and in the preparation of new pieces, and the most impressive result of their collaboration may be the Partita for solo violin (2010), a seven-movement suite written especially for Fain. Associations with Johann Sebastian Bach's violin partitas are inevitable, and it's clear that Glass has had them in mind while composing in what can be described as an aspirational, rather than a merely imitative, manner. Glass has for the most part avoided his customary ostinatos and static sections, and his use of broken chords only suggests counterpoint, rather than propulsive rhythmic patterns. He has also eschewed any direct references to Bach or Baroque style, yet the Partita's kinship with the older models is certainly felt, and Fain's playing has a lot to do with it. The ebb and flow of tempos and the expressive use of rubato give the Partita an introspective feeling, and the freedom of individual expression is quite removed from the locked-in, high-energy ensemble playing that was Glass' early trademark style.
Underappreciated in his own time, Johann Sebastian Bach has ascended to Olympian heights in the estimation of generations of music lovers. But what is it about his music that makes it great? Composer and musicologist Robert Greenberg helps you hear the extraordinary sweep of Bach's music and understand his compositional language—whether you're a devoted admirer or a casual listener.
The Lautten Compagney discovers surprising points of contact between the baroque composer Tarquinio Merula and American contemporary composer Philip Glass. This is music of pure pleasure that effortlessly crosses all stylistic and historical boundaries.
"This is one of the best Philip Glass albums in ages. Led by French Canadian violinist Angele Dubeau, the all-female string-ensemble La Pieta has woven together some of the composer's most moodily romantic and irresistible pieces, playing them with a lush, almost hypnotizing beauty. The album includes his "Mishima" and "Company" scores, as well as the piano-laced suite from "The Hours." The theme from "The Secret Agent" soundtrack is one of Glass' most haunting melodies, with a mysteriously dramatic quality that's almost Purcell-like. "Echorus" is another Baroque-channeling highlight, violins singing bittersweet over a slowly rocking rhythm. From one end of the album to the other, it feels like one long song, in the best sense." – Bradley Bambarger, The Star-Ledger (Newark)