PHILIP GLASS (b.1937): Symphony No. 9.
Catalogue Number: 06N084
Label: Orange Mountain Music
Description: After various essays in pushing his personal symphonic envelope - symphonies with texts and choirs, neo-romantic works with extended passages that seem to be deliberately avoiding association with any interpretation of the 'minimalist' label, the Ninth initially sounds like a return to familiar territory - the 1980s-era works that propelled the composer to household-name status. The first movement is based on the minor-key oscillations of the film scores and operas of that period, done up in rich orchestral garb. After a slow, Romantic introduction, the second movement settles into the same sort of thing, with distinct shades of Akhnaten and Satyagraha, propulsion provided by syncopated, stabbing chords and percussion - very effective, well-worn devices. The finale is underpinned by the expected motoric pulse, but wanders into areas of greater tonal ambiguity and contrapuntal complexity than the earlier movements might have implied, leading to a powerful and satisfying 'symphonic' climax before subsiding into an extended coda of ghostly arpeggiated figuration. Bruckner Orchester Linz; Dennis Russell Davies.