PHILIP GLASS (b.1937): For Ensemble: Music in Similar Motion, Music in Contrary Motion, 600 Lines, How Now, Strung Out for Amplified Violin, Piece in the Shape of a Square for 2 Flutes, Gradus for Bass Clarinet.
Catalogue Number: 04I082
Label: Orange Mountain Music
Description: Another opportunity to journey back in time to the earliest days of New York minimalism, spruced up and given a new coat of fresh paint. If you have an extensive collection of Chatham Square and Giorno Poetry Systems LPs you may have some of this early (and pre-) Philip Glass Ensemble material; otherwise opportunities to acquire recordings, let alone hear it in concert, have been few and far between for decades. 600 Lines and How Now were Glass' first essays in developing his new vocabulary for ensemble (both from 1968) and both contain the elements that typified the Philip Glass sound for several decades; synthesisers, percussion and wind instruments for rhythmic incisiveness; staccato repeated cells interchanging and cycling. The complexity of overlapping parts soon became more intricate in the more adventurous works that soon followed - Music in Contrary Motion is the most texturally satisfying work here - but there is a sense of gleeful discovery to these early essays, and rediscovering the development of Glass' style from theatrically experimental pieces for a couple of overlapping lines played by soloists to the ebullient energy of the ensemble pieces is great fun. 2 CDs for the price of 1. Alter Ego.