Minimalist composer Philip Glass
Philip Glass who?
What is it with Philip Glass?
Glass is one of the most successful, prolific, famous, and sought after composers of our time. Yet, he has also been so harshly criticized and reviled. Our listeners have called his music “water torture” and one went so far as to call him a “fraud.” Listeners do not seem to have a middle ground for this controversial composer.
The term minimalism, which the composer does not embrace, has been applied to Glass as well his contemporaries Steve Reich and John Adams. However, there is nothing minimal about his prolific and varied output nor the length of some of his works (Einstein on the Beach was a five hour affair.), so why the name? Repetition of small musical ideas is the answer.
Glass’ music does not meet people’s expectations in classical or any other style of music. He uses repetitive structures and stays away from what we might call a musical arc – a beginning, development and then a final conclusion. The music just seems to seamlessly flow and vary of its own purpose and accord. Ironically, the early output of Glass is extremely rigid in its repetition, but over the years the music has become more Romantic in its inclination.
West Virginia PBS is going to show a brand new film about Glass called “Philip Glass in Twelve Parts” on Wednesday, April 8 at 9pm. I’m excited that this is coming to our network.
Official site of Philip Glass
Info and trailer for the film "Philip Glass in Twelve Parts"