When people, especially in North America, get over the hangup that Glass is not supposed to be considered a serious classical music composer, despite numerous operas, symphonies, concerti and ballets, and despite their enduring popularity in Europe, or that he is a nails-on-the-blackboard minimalist, despite some of the most transporting melodies written in the last century, they will recognize that his music, and especially his recent direction, constitutes a landmark in 20-21st century "serious" music.
This violin concerto is a good example. It his his second violin concerto, the first having achieved repetition in a variety of media (check youtube for this) for its transcendent second movement. The American 4 seasons, his second violin concerto represents a more mature Glass style, of far greater complexity and with memorable qualities throughout, from first to last note. Due it its complexity, it may not be completely accessible on first hearing, but repeated listening brings great rewards in enjoyment.
A review of the Glass concerto output (violin, cello, concerto grosso, piano, saxophone quartet, etc.) reveals that his second movements are outstanding for their melodic lyricism and this concerto's second movement even exceeds the others in that regard. Glass's most recent concerti have tended to opt for a slow final movement, choosing tranquility over fireworks, as is especially true in the second piano concerto ("Lewis and Clark"). But Robert McDuffie, for whom this second concerto was written, wanted the fireworks. Glass delivered these fireworks in the fourth movement, and then some. For me this is far and away the best final concerto movement that Glass has written. This is not surprising in view of Glass's special gift in writing for the violin (witness the third movement of the third symphony, the first violin concerto, or music for The Screens).
This concerto has its perfect mate in Robert McDuffie, because the Glass style opens music up to the sensibilities of the performer more than the work of most composers, and McDuffie pours into it amazing amounts of sensitivity and interpretation.
This recording is a treasure. If you've been avoiding Glass up to now, either because you think he's not a serious enough composer or perhaps a bit too serious, this recording will change your mind. If you haven't been avoiding Glass, then you've already bought it!