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4.6 out of 5 stars19
4.6 out of 5 stars
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I got into the work of Glass through his album Solo Piano and was anxious to purchase this complete album after hearing the track 'Facades'.

Glassworks is an album of dynamics and characterised by Glass' prepensity for dense rhythmic structures - some of these pieces can at first listen seem quite similar. Essentially the album is bookended by 'opening' and 'closing' (quite obviously, I hear you snigger!), both sharing the same notes, but the former played on a solitary piano, while the latter is performed by the orchestra. I prefer 'opening', perhaps because of my enjoyment of 'solo piano' - it is gentle and lilting; a subtly complex construction of notes.

I love the way Glass has used Saxophones in this piece. 'Facades' on balance remains my favourite piece - it is more thoughtful and sombre than the pounding 'Floe' and 'Rubric'. In it, a saxophone floats on top of some simple string refrains and conjures the work of Miles Davis to mind at times.

I found this album interesting and enjoyable. Its dynamics, while initially a little jarring came to be its strength on repeated listenings. Another interesting album from Mr. Glass!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 17 October 2007
When Mr Sax invented what Homer Simpson memorably refers to as "The Saxamaphone" he had in mind a number of uses for it. Something like a clarinet but louder, to make the grade in a marching military band. And in a symphonic setting, something that would allow the wind section to compliment the strings more fully. Well he got his wish with the military bands, but once adopted by jazzers and honking rock and rollers the saxaphone seems to have been diverted from the classical home Adolph intended for it. That is until Philip Glass wrote this sumptious setting for the instrument.You will have heard a few of these pieces in the better class of TV advert. They are all pattering pianos, swelling strings and those saxaphones are there, doing what they were born for. You might not recognise them as saxes. They aren't being played the way we usually hear them.Every track bar Rubric is a meditative gem. The mood is of the more austere Miles Davis. Rubric is one of those urgent insistent repetitive pieces which Glass and his friend Steve Reich are perhaps better known for. Not perhaps to everyone's taste but in my opinion a fine foil to the more restful sections on the rest of the disk. Its modern classical music, but don't be afraid. Come on in. The saxaphones are lovely. Glass is at his most accessible and enjoyable here.
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Glassworks is beautiful thing, gentler and more reflective than the vibrant, glittering repetitions which are typically associated with Philip Glass.

In Glassworks, only 2 of the pieces, Floe - like a first sudden moment at the start of a tropical dawn chorus - and the brass section sax rich shining Rubric, have the fierce edges. The other 4 pieces are more simple, flowing, watery.

There's a typically Glass like circling quality to the whole CD - the opening track 'Opening' simply keyboards, for all the world a whisper away from the slow movement of one of the great Romantic piano composers, is echoed again in 'Closing', where the piece has become more textured by a chamber orchestra taking it up.

Glass's typical repetitions, small builds and diminishings don't feel meaningless in any way, there's something really satisfying about being held in a structure which changes slowly. 'Opening' has the lovely muted grey violet quality of dusk.

Floe starts plangently, softly, and then explodes into edgy texture, rushing piccolo, sax, horns, its like a thousand cicadas wiring up for the day, and there's something very thrilling about it. Just as you think your nerve endings can take no more of the texture and vibrancy, the track settles back into a breathing space for itself and then whirls off again to its resolved climax

Islands moves back into something more flowing and haunting, slightly melancholic, even a little menacing, with strings in a minor key, odd snatches of melody which feel as if they belong to 'Psycho' or 'North by Northwest'!

Rubric, is the most jazzy, riffy of all the pieces. I found myself responding to it in that head nodding way of marking the rhythm that often seems to happen when people listen to jazz!

Facades is simply beautiful. It probably has the most shifting melody going more quickly to new places, melancholy and soulful, strings and sax, played sweetly and sadly.
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VINE VOICEon 9 January 2010
I first heard Philip Glass in about 1996 at a friends place in Brooklyn. He is a classical music graduate so I was expeciting something a bit to difficult for me - but I really liked the simplicity of the music I was played.

I recently re-bought some Brian Eno (eg Ambient 1: Music for Airports) and it reminded me to try some Glass. I'm glad I did - Glassworks is now a regular on my Mac when I'm working - it seems to release the creative flow on demand.
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on 17 May 2012
As a part-time Law student, it can hard to motivate yourself to study after work. I use a lot of music for background and this particular album is perfect for getting you started .
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on 15 January 2015
The BBC used a piece from PG for one of the programmes on Radio 4 Extra: Rogue Male, by Geoffrey Household.
It is a brilliantly-haunting piece, and I emailed the Beeb to ask what it was.
They had obviously received lots of requests for, at the beginning of the final programme, the announcer said that "the haunting theme used is 'Facades', by Philip Glass".
So now I always associate these two things - the book / radio version, and Facades - together.
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on 17 February 2012
A work of genius.... unbelievably beautiful, evocative, so emotionally charged. An excellent introduction to the work of a visionary musician and composer. Up there with Steve Reich.... that's how good this is.
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on 16 December 2013
I have loved Philip Glass music for years. This copy was bought to replace the LP and it is a treat to be able to listen to it without the clicks caused by scratches from long usage.
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on 25 September 2012
I love the music of Philip Glass. I completely fell in love with Solo Piano. For this one though, my favourite tracks are Facades and Closing, with Closing being the best track, in my opinion.

The others are a little too discordant for my tastes although, in fairness, Philip Glass does like to play with the discordant in his compositions. Therefore I found Opening not enjoyable and Floe and Island difficult in places.
An acquired taste I think but not for me.
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on 18 December 2014
I bought this album after hearing one of the tacks used as background music on more than one occasion.
Sparse music where each piece seems to flow into the next. Mesmerising.
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