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Philip Glass himself writes in the CD sleeve a brief introduction that is both forthright and yet cryptic to this work. He tells us the form of each of the three movements but there is no explanation for why he chose those forms or any inkling behind the inspiration for the content. The result, for me, is a disjointed work, each of the three movements seeming to bear little contact with the others.

Much of the content is standard Glassian fare. The opening movement is very good, very strident and full of thematic riches with interesting developments. The second movement is a passacaglia that progresses slowly under its own leaden weight rather than by the intrinsic rhythm. The final movement is again, for me, weighed down by its own langour. No movement could stand on its own, and yet neither do they relate to each other. The result is a patchy and ultimately unsatisfactory work.

That being said, the performance by the Bruckner Orchestra under Dennis Russell Davies is very good. They commissioned the work, having previously given the European premier of Glass's sixth symphony. They demonstrate here the required strong rhythmic discipline and a richness of sound that cannot be faulted.
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on 18 August 2013
Absolutely superb. An orchestra that deals with Bruckner is perfect for Glass: the spaciousness, the blocks of sound. Dennis Russell Davies is brilliant here, and through him we see an interesting development in the music of Glass. Passions hinted at in Glass' film soundtracks are explicit here: the second movement is emotionally involving, and the third movement is probably the most moving music Glass has written. These two movements are also inventive. The first movement also boils with ideas; what could be a schematic presentation of variations becomes a thrilling torrent. At some points, Glass' familiar swirls become a violent threshing.
There's a lot of Glass out there: a lot average, some poor, some excellent. But this really is magnificent- if only he was this good more often. I would recommend this fantastic recording to Glass fans, and to people who don't particularly like him, or even haven't heard a note of his music. Like his Symphony No.9 I would also recommend it to those who enjoy Bruckner.
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on 3 March 2016
This CD was purchased at the same time as those for symphonies 9 and 10. All 3 are great works. The 8th is brilliant with a most remarkable 1st movement where one of the themes you can't get out of your head. If you love Glass's minimalism, you'll love this.
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on 18 April 2011
For anyone considering Glass is not first rate they should buy this. Mature and profound. The second movement particularly so. A wonderful piece of music I had to play it again and again.
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on 9 February 2015
I always think of PG as audio-wallpaper. As we age, I begin to appreciate the consistency that mathematicians make their "break-throughs" in their early maturity. PG's imagery has transformed from the fecundity of the motion, colour and detail of - say - William Morris to the still expansiveness of Mark Rothko
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on 13 March 2011
The first movement of his 8th is one of the best peices he has wrote. Every now and again Glass comes up with something special, I thought his 6th Symphony was very good too.

The style is the same, using a full orchestra to chug along the familiar Glass rhythms only this peice is life affirming stuff!

If you are a fan then you already have this, but if you are new to Glass then I can recommend it wholeheartedly.
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on 16 October 2010
I guess Glass is unfashionable since he is so prolific and for other reasons I am not aware of. I keep looking in the FT and the Sunday Times for reviews of his new work and have yet to see one.

But I like Glass. Not all Glass. But Low Symphony, Heroes and now this. I really think this music is underated. Try it. This is a good one
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on 2 August 2014
brilliant and brilliant
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