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4.3 out of 5 stars19
4.3 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 October 2010
My growing collection of Phillip Glass's music is entirely instrumental, and I was unaware that much of this collection is from his modern opera work. As I'm not a huge fan of opera, I was a little taken aback as this began to play, but by track 2, 'Changing Opinions', I was hooked. This is a wonderful collection of what I would call 'modern operetta', in that the music is accessible almost immediately, it's very melodic (no screeching!), it's possible to make out the lyrics, and still recognisably by Glass. There are a number of instrumental pieces here, including the wonderful 'Facades' and 'Metamorphosis 4', but the opera extracts more than hold their own in this impressive company. A great collection, and an absolute 'steal' at this price. Not to be missed!
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on 15 October 2010
I first heard the work of Glass in the mid 90's following his epic production and interpratation of Bowie's Low & "Heroes" LP's. For some reason it took many many more years to go in search of other works by Glass.

Much to my regret I probably waited far too long though I am most glad I did find more of his work. If you are unfamiliar with his work then I would suggest you start here. A wonderful mix that gives you a stunning introduction to his work.

Once you get your ears around this fine compilation may I suggest you go and find a copy of Low Symphony which in my opinion is one of the finest efforts you will hear by Glass.

Enjoy the discovery!
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Any collection entitled 'Essential' 'Best of' etc opens up a minefield as admirers of a composer or performer's oeuvre is bound to say 'why didn't they include THIS instead of THAT?'.

And so it is here!

My main cavil is the lack of inclusion of one specific song from 'Songs From Liquid Days', Glass's collaboration with singer/songwriter lyricists, in favour of another, 'Changing Opinions'. 'Lightning' is very typical of 'vibrant, edged Philip Glass' and quite wonderful, but I'm surprised that he didn't include either the glorious 'Open The Kingdom', lyrics by David Byrne, beautifully sung by Douglas Perry, an example of a soaring melodic line arching over Glass's densely packed orchestral textures. Or, perhaps an even more surprising omission, given that his ability to write for the male operatic voice is much illustrated anyway in the various excerpts from Satyagraha, again with vocals by Perry, is the lack of either of the Linda Ronstadt numbers from Liquid Days - particularly 'Forgetting'. This was such a good combination of Glass's music with classical musicians (Kronos Quartet) and singers associated with more popular music - Ronstadt and The Roches.

Facades is a pretty essential essential really, and its wonderful to hear so much of Satyagraha and Perry and the shivery strange counter-tenor Akhnaten music - but there are an awful lot of other works by Glass out there, and it might have been good to have had tracks from more of the albums, rather than restrict it to several from a few.

There are also several tracks which give no indication of which CDs they originally come from (in fact, its only Satyagraha, Akhnaten and Einstein on the Beach which are acknowledged) So this is unhelpful to listeners who may be particularly taken by a particular track/period of Glass's compositions and want to delve more deeply into the CD the piece comes from.

4 rather than 5 star more for the failure of better sleeve notes and a slightly narrow selection criterion. The pieces themselves - well, wonderful.
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on 10 February 2013
The Glass that I like best are instrumental tracks. There are some in this CD, such as the Radio 4 'standard background' Glass title Facade, but there are too many tracks with vocals for my taste.
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on 11 December 2009
If you`ve never heard any Philip Glass or wondered if you`d like his work - just buy this. My personal favourite from this `taster` cd is `Changing Opinion`, but I originally ordered it for `Facades`, having heard it used as intro for BBC radio dramatisation of `Rogue Male`(serialised on Radio 7 not that long ago). The selection of pieces from `Satyagraha` are wonderful, especially if you aren`t ready to fork out loadsa cash for the full operatic work!
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on 17 May 2012
'Glassworks' was the first work by this composer I brought and enjoy playing it, This album has pieces from his major works , some are a bit different , some quirky , but an enjoyable experience.
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on 20 March 2013
Great introduction to the work of Philip Glass - stillactive, still one of the most creative composers around. Not to everyone's taste perhaps but then perhaps it is time YOU changed! Get this CD and catch up with the rest of us music-heads.
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on 19 July 2010
This CD is truly beautiful. It combines Philip Glass' more 'classical' music as opposed to his more experimental music (which is equally fantastic!) and is a really engaging, peaceful soundtrack!
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on 20 March 2010
First rate taster sessionand generally well produced., good introduction for anyone not too familiar with this composer.Superb singing.
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on 12 April 2010
I've got loads of Glass music but this CD is exactly what it says, if you could only have one Glass CD this is it!! Essential!
Pete O'B
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