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Glass: Violin Concerto CD
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Company - Concerto pour violon - Akhnaten: Prélude et Danse
Top Customer Reviews
A must for all Glass fans, and a good introduction to newcomers immune to the usual Glass-phobe cliches. A little gem.
It is instructive to compare Glass' Violin concerto with his fellow American John Adams'. Adams takes on the whole late romantic/early modern tradition of Violin Concertos: structurally, harmonically and pschycologically (think for instance of the troubled soul of Elgar's violin concerto)and builds something strange, wonderful and new. Glass focuses on structures, opting for a classic 18th century fast-slow-fast one) and produces a Paginini like showmanship from his endlessly repeated musical figures. But there is more going on, for instance, half way through the first movement I was surprised by a counter melodic line from the strings which could have been borrowed straight from a symphony by the early 20th century British composer Bax. The piece ends on a high - and fast- note - after 25 attention keeping minutes.
The final two tracks are selections from Glass' Opera Ankhaten.
they are fine as far as they go but do not constitute any kind of complete work. With the CD clocking in at only 52 minutes there are 28 free minutes which could have been used to more fully represent the Opera.
The playing is top notch, especially the solo violin in the concerto. If you want to compare the Adams and Glass concertos you may wish to buy a CD that features both (there are several available)If you already have the Adams (or don't wish to buy it) this is an excellent version of the Glass.
One of music's greatest innovators, Franz Joseph Haydn, uses the technique as far back as 1770 in the finale to his Symphony No. 41. If you have not already come across this work, then I suggest you make its acquaintance as soon as possible. Haydn is, of course, without question one of the least understood and appreciated of the great composers. However, Haydn did not build his corpus on the short motif principle in the extreme manner adopted by Glass and his disciples. But Haydn was the supreme master in the use of the short motif and I am sure in his early studies Glass must have been aware of this.
Domenico Scarlatti, too, was working in this fashion: I could point to many of his 500 or so so-called harpsichord sonatas in which repetition is the key. And in a broader sense we may include J S Bach (e.g. Brandenburg Concerto No. 6, first movement). There are some quasi-minimalist examples from J Brahms, notably the first section of the String Sextet No. 2, Opus 36 first movement, first section. Also the String Quintet No. 2, Opus 111 first movement first section accompaniment; and no doubt there are many others.
Music is unique amongst the arts in the sense that it requires allotted time for its rendition. Therefore, with the ever-growing quantity of music at our disposal the more difficult does it become to find that time in which to listen to or study it, let alone do it justice.
As for this Concerto by Glass?Read more ›
The problem is with the accompanying pieces. Company, which precedes and the two excerpts from Akhnaten, which follow, are fine in their way. In fact the Prelude to Akhnaten is one of the finest pieces of one of the finest operas of recent times. It's just that the trouble with Glass is that be can be so... well, repetitive. The filler works sound too much like the Violin Conerto to be paired successfully with them. If Naxos were to pair this off with something suitably mellow by another contemporary composer - say Rutter or Pärt - they'd have a much stronger proposition.
As a Belfast man born and bred, I might be biased, but the Ulster Orchestra and their principal guest conductor Takuo Yuasa gave a good enough account of themselves here, and given the super budget price of this CD, the competition would have to be something special to justify the extra cost.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not the best, sound quality a little tinny and harsh which deflects a little away from the music. I end up turning it off after track 5 or 7 as the harshness gets on my nerves.Published 25 days ago by Jo
How I would just love to re-incarnate J.S.Bach and have him listen to this Violin Concerto. Or has the great master actually been re-incarnated? What a composition!Published 5 months ago by David A
Brilliant recording. How could the fabulous Ulster Orchestra do anything sub standard after all.
Very emotive and sublime in every respect. Read more
It's a really lovely CD, I'm absolutely delighted with it!!! Great service, as well, Amazon, you were very helpful and friendly!!! Keep up the good work!!! Great stuff!!!Published 12 months ago by Vicky Pearson
Philip Glass has always struck me as a very good film composer, his scores for The Hours and Bent contributing to the feeling of the sublime that both of those films achieve. Read morePublished 17 months ago by schumann_bg