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Heroes Symphony [Import]

Brian Eno, Philip Glass, David Bowie Audio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Audio CD (17 April 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Mercury
  • ASIN: B000026X8E
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 547,947 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but will not be to all tastes 24 Jan 2008
By Comical Engineer TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Philip Glass is somewhat controversial as a composer. He produces much music that inspires both criticism and praise in more or less equal measures. This recording is Glass' second collaboration with Bowie and the king of ambient music Brian Eno.

It's an intriguing album not least because the music is inspired by, rather than the re-working of Bowie's original composition. As a style, it is minimalist, possibly utilitarian and at times repetitive. I find that it's an album I keep coming back to for some reason. I find the music intriguing and slightly challenging, albeit less so than some of Glass' other works. As a piece I would compare it to a Le Corbusier building, stark, slightly disturbing but fascinating for it's possibilities.

It's not an accessible album, and not something you would put on in the car. What I do find is if I sit down reading a book with this on, I gradually concentrate less on the book and get drawn into the music instead.

My one criticism is that it is, at times, slightly repetitive without actually going anywhere, hence, 4 stars instead of 5.
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By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD
Reminds me of the piped sounds of those grey and white building monoliths bedecked with water fountains; upright jets spouting in green clipped surfaces = The Barbican.

Sterile, bleak, corporate shards of moderne decor, encased within concrete blocks of softly polished glass, replete with specks of granite hanging onto a metallic skelature.

So - Insert the card, and then enter this made to accompany a corporate ballet.

It works as background music, but, after a while gradually pulls you out of somnolence with its avid repetition. Initially miles away from the bleak 70's coldness of instrumental "Heroes," it trammels another path- echoing the 1990's, churning up another set of emotional dynamics based on ambiance.

"Abdulmajid" is an outtake from the original "Heroes" finally brought to life by the two composers and then given a cut Glass makeover.

"Sense of Doubt" remains faithful, pummeling the dynamics, but leaves out the ghostly unearthly cries. It travels up and down the grey pathways evoking the harsh uncompromising sterility of the modern age before shooting into - Berlin after the wall removed.

"Sons of the Silent Age" commences small, then builds with wind instrumentation. The best is "Neukoln" which rears up on the original to launch a gravitas lacking in the previous offerings.

"V2 Schneider" loses its motormekanik thrust and becomes a keyboard rework, almost an opening for a bank commercial.

Thankfully it sinks into something joyous, a transformation from the bleak rocket sounds of the late 70's. I prefer the original.

Not sure if this would appeal to the original owners of the albums.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glass meets Bowie & Eno for a second time... 2 July 2004
By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME
Format:Audio CD
Celebrated minimalist composer Philip Glass here tackles Bowie & Eno for a second time, following up his Low Symphony with one based around the follow-up album "Heroes" (1978), otherwise known as the second part of the so-called Berlin Trilogy (a dodgy tag as much of Low was recorded in Switzerland, as a good portion of the not as great Lodger was recorded in New York. I concur with others who see the trilogy as really Station to Station-Low-"Heroes" alongside diversions like the two Iggy LPs & the Stage live-set!).
With the Low Symphony, Glass tackled just three tracks (including Some Are, which was a bonus track on the Sound+Vision reissue & later found a place on compilation All Saints, as did Abdulmajid here)- here he takes in six tracks- the outtake Abdulmajid, the title track, the SF-epic Sons of the Silent Age and two of the mindblowing instrumentals on the second side: Neukoln and V-2 Schneider (pity he didn't do Moss Garden, as listening to Glass' soundtrack to Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, it sounds ideally suited to his Eastern-framed minimalism post-Cage).
The "Heroes" symphony as the Low symphony is in many ways the ultimate Bowie cover version- to be thought of alongside the best Bowie-covers: BEF's The Secret Life of Arabia, Associates'Boys Keep Swinging, Nirvana's The Man Who Sold the World, Mott the Hooples' All the Young Dudes (I know he wrote that for them!), Black Box Recorder's Rock'N'Roll Suicide & The Langley Schools Music Projects' Space Oddity. "Heroes", along with Station to Station and Low, remains one of my fave Bowie records- fans of it should adore Glass' alternate take on Bowie & Eno's work. That Eno-bloke- you just can't avoid him; the Decay Music LP by Michael Nyman is not unrelated...
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like Glass, pick this up 7 Sep 2005
By G. Todd Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Glassworks is a great place to start if you are unfamiliar with Glass, but this c.d. is also a good example of his approach to classical music. Too many reviewers simply don't like what he does: combine musical motifs with sound patterns that often repeat in gradual variations. The themes are frequently from unique musical or visual sources- in this case the largely experimental rock album "Heroes" - within the context of classical instrumentation and arrangement. Don't expect symphonic versions of songs from the l.p., rather the listener should view the Bowie/Eno influence through a more expressionistic lense. I find the "Heroes" Symphony to be every bit as interesting as the earlier Low Symphony (also based on themes from the Bowie/Eno Berlin records); and just as the original Low/Heroes recordings in the 70's were strikingly different, so are these.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting find 19 May 2000
By Colin Pool - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I came across this CD in a used record store for cheap, and being a fan of Bowie and Eno, as well as Phillip Glass's minimalist compositional style, I picked it up. It didn't blow me away per se, but I found it to be an extremely impressive and captivating work. The way the compositions build is incredibly well orchestrated, and, though numerous liberties were taken with the originals, Glass's reworkings still fit the originals well enough, and provide interesting new interpretations for old fans and new. The work also serves to expose Bowie and Eno to a classical audience, an interesting though in and of itself :-)
25 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Quotation marks should go around the word "symphony" 19 Jan 2005
By John F. Isham - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
For those who are intrigued by the prospect of hearing the orchestral sound of Philip Glass based on a 1977 Bowie/Eno album, go straight to his *Low Symphony*, but by all means avoid the one based on *"Heroes"*.

The *"Heroes" Symphony* is a sequel in the worst sense of the word, produced in order to cash in on something that had succeeded (both commercially and aesthetically) a few years earlier. It takes only a few minutes of listening to realize that the composer's heart and imagination aren't into it at all. Glass has nowhere near the familiarity or feel for the original music here that he had for *Low*, and it's virtually impossible to spot any sort of "symphonic" link between the six adaptations/compositions strung together on this disc. The inspiration is missing, the sequences tend to be derivative, the motifs strangely and almost arbitrarily chosen...and you'll never want to put it back in your player again after the first listening (if you can even make it through that). This, imho, is the audio equivalent of a cheaply manufactured and obnoxious smelling perfume. The product's cardboard container only magnifies its cheapness.

The *Low Symphony* was an authentically sublime piece of music, both for those who like Philip Glass and for those who treasure the original Bowie/Eno album. It even holds potential appeal for those unfamiliar with any of the three artists' work and who happen to come across it by chance and experience it on its own terms.

By contrast, the *"Heroes" Symphony* was targeted solely at potential buyers like myself who couldn't help but bite as soon as the lure had been dropped. The real shame is that it now tarnishes for me the unadulterated appreciation I once had for the *Low Symphony* and I even listen to that far less now than I otherwise would.

Do yourself a favor and don't make the same mistake I did. Go for the *Low Symphony* without any hesitation, but keep your distance from this one.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Glass, Poor Bowie/Eno 1 Dec 2008
By Redgecko - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
If you expect to hear the melody of Bowie's rock masterpeice "Heroes" when you listen to the title track, then you'll be sorely disappointed. The Glass rendition offers no trace of the classic Bowie melody, though it is enjoyable Glass as always.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, an authentic American voice 16 Feb 2006
By Andrew Anissi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Philip Glass is what American culture has been waiting a long time for. Finally, something expressed in musical terms other than angst, frustration, anger, heartbreak, silliness, comfort, fun, etc. etc. Philip Glass plays for us the sound of the spirit, both fearsomely powerful and inspiringly uplifting. If you've had it with the frivolity of mediocre composers like Aaron Copland and you want to hear something deeply moving and sincere, listen to Philip Glass. This Heroes symphony is a good place to start. If you're in the mood for more, watch the film Koyanqaatsi, which was scored entirely by Philip Glass.
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