Sunday, November 13, 2005

Music in 12 Parts - Part 1 - Philip Glass

My favorite piece by Glass is not the entire Music in 12 parts, but just this one movement, the first movement.

This particular portion of Music in 12 parts doesn’t particularly sound like Glass (or at least, the self-imposed stereotype of his music) - where are those oh-so-characteristic four-square arpeggios? none to be found. Here we have a delicate, rocking syncopation and a striking lyricism, yearning for a resolution that will never be, shifting between tones gracefully and endlessly, an expressive and beautiful monotony. This is minimalism i can get lost in!

What frustrates me about Glass is that his music sometimes touches on the sublime without ever reaching it, like a tangent point- it just touches- never diving for the center. There are several pieces where he almost has expressive perfection- but it slips away- the 5th movement of his 5th String Quartet, the opening of Glassworks. Countless other places.

Maybe thats what fascinates me about his works, they're sometimes so close to ideal.

1 comment:

Andrew Yen said...

I have found a work of his that I think brinks on the divine: Symphony No. 2. Just listening to it gives me chills.