PHILIP GLASS (b.1937): Violin Concerto No. 2 "The American Four Seasons".
Catalogue Number: 11M089
Label: Orange Mountain Music
Reference: OMM 0072
Description: Written as a companion piece to Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, hence the subtitle. The four movements are prefaced with violin solos in place of cadenzas, which form a set of nicely crafted neo-baroque pastiches in their own right, with the melodic tendency that has become more prevalent in Glass' music over the past decade or so to the fore. The composer declines to tell us which movement represents which season, but a plausible interpretation would have the cycle of the year running in reverse, which would not be the only retrograde aspect of the piece. Much of it is built on the oscillating minor thirds and arpeggii which were Glass' trademark in his music of the 1980s, that cemented his reputation, for better or worse, and became his instantly recognizable style. The concerto breaks absolutely no new ground in his output, but as a finely crafted orchestral exposition (with the inclusion of the keyboards of his ensemble days - another stylistic throwback) of the type of thing he has always done best, with references throughout to some of his best scores - Koyaanisqatsi, Mishima, Satyagraha, Descent into the Maelstrom - it is an immensely enjoyable summary of the kind of thing his admirers have always found most appealing in his music. Robert McDuffie (violin), London Philharmonic Orchestra; Marin Alsop.