PHILIP GLASS (b.1937): Partitas for Solo Cello No 1 “Songs & Poems” and No. 2*, The Secret Agent, The Paris Sky. * - First Recording.
Catalogue Number: 10T071
Label: Orange Mountain Music
Description: Glass has had a long relationship with stringed instruments - his first acknowledged composition is a string trio from 1952, his experimental early period includes works for violin, and he has written extensively for strings ever since. In 2007, around the time of his collaboration with Leonard Cohen, The Book of Longing (01J088), he wrote the Partita No.1, which has a good deal in common with the song cycle, and this marked the start of a series of works for string soloists, including the Violin Partita, very much analogous to the Partita No.2 for cello (05Q075). Glass says that his music 'doesn't sound like Bach', and while this is literally true, it is very obvious where its primary derivation lies, and he readily acknowledges Bach's cello works as a very early, formative influence when he was working in his father's record store. In common with Glass' recent style, the harmonies change much more swiftly than in the works of the 1980s on which the composer's reputation and fame were built. The first Partita is less like 'traditional' Glass than the second; more harmonically volatile and more Romantic; the second contains movements of this type, which tend to be characterized by denser, double-stopped textures, but some movements are absolutely recognisable as the classic Glass of oscillating arpeggiated patterns. Matt Haimovitz (cello).