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Glass at his best
on 11 March 2003
The first work on this disc, Company, shows Glass at his most telling, using the basic building blocks of minimalism to achieve the maximum of musical richness and contrasts.
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.