Akhnaten, Satyagraha and Einstein on the Beach have become, in less than a decade, three of the most performed and highly regarded of twentieth-century operas, playing to standing-room-only audiences around the world. And their creator, Philip Glass, has emerged as today's most significant American composer. In Music by Philip Glass, Glass tells in his own words of his growth from obscurity to worldwide fame. In revealing anecdotes, he portrays his great teacher, Nadia Boulanger (whose other students included Aaron Copeland and Virgil Thomson), working with Ravi Shankar to "translate" his scores for Western musicians, and his beginning associations with the avant-garde theater of Mabou Mines, Ellen Stewart's LaMama, and Robert Wilson. At this time, contemporary classical music was dominated by serialist composers like Karlheinz Stockhausen and Pierre Boulez, and Glass's music was ignored. At first unable to perform outside art galleries and performance spaces, he began to work more and more in the field of new music/new theater - achieving startling range and originality. Here are the full stories of the enormous struggles to create and perform Glass's three operas, works the likes of which had never been seen before. Included are the full libretti and discussions of the music by the composer, with examples written in Glass's own hand. Music by Philip Glass also features full information on the recording of "Glassworks" and "Songs from Liquid Days", on the scoring of Koyannisquatsi and Mishima and advance word on glass's forthcoming productions, including his next opera, Doris Lessing's The Making of the Representative for Planet 8. With editing and an introduction by Robert T. Jones, writer for the New York Times, Music by Philip Glass offers penetrating insight into today's world of contemporary music - and the life and times of its most exciting creator.
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Glass, whose reductive, repetitive music inspires either adoration or ennui, has written as excellent, easy-to-read account of his compositional career, with particular emphasis on the planning and realization of his well-known trilogy of operas: Einstein on the Beach , Satyagraha , and Akhnaten. Even Glass's detractors will be won over by his obvious sincerity and seriousness of purpose in coming to terms with the complexities of his operatic subjects. Glass fans will enjoy the reminiscences of his salad years in Paris and the fascinating behind-the-scenes view of the opera world, but may be disappointed in the sketchy explanations of the musical content of the operas. The up-to-date discography is useful. Larry Lipkis, Moravian Coll., Bethlehem, Pa.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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