- Materiali Sonori (New Classics Series) MASO CD 90104 (1998, Italy).
- All compositions by Philip Glass.
- Performed and Produced by Arturo Stalteri.
- Étoile Polaire, Victor's Lament, River Run and Ave, originally included on the soundtrack of North Star, are here in Arturo Stalteri's arrangement.
- Ave cello is played by Damiano Puliti.
- Engineered by Pietro Mantovani.
- Digitally Editing by Lorenzo Tommasini & Giampiero Bigazzi.
- Art Direction by Ivan Iusco & Ernst Thorton.
- Arturo Stalteri plays Yamaha pianos.
- Published by Dunvagen Music Publishers, Inc. (1, 2, 7, 8, 9) and Virgin Music (3, 4, 5, 6).
- © 1998 Materiali Sonori, Italy.
- Opening (6:22).
- Metamorphosis One (5:43).
- Étoile Polaire (North Star) (4:51).
- Victor's Lament (4:00).
- River Run (1:53).
- Ave (4:49).
- Mad Rush (15:49).
- Aria From Act III Of Satyagraha (8:32).
- Closing (Stalteri Dramatic Version) (1:34).
Total Time 53:59.
Ave (Arranged for pianos and cello by Arturo Stalteri, 1:54, 228.204 bytes )
Excerpt from "Mad Rush" (1979).
Music for piano solo, or the result of arrangements for more than one piano, or for piano and cello, with an interpretative richness and depth such as to place the "classic" composer Philip Glass in a position of absolute distinction. With its absence of refrains and points of melodic support, it has the flavour of an opera which, above and beyond the so called minimalist movement, now belongs in the history of contemporary music.
EINSTEIN ON THE MOON by Arturo Stalteri.
Circles is the result of my involvement, during a period of over twenty-years, in the music of Philip Glass, first as a simple listener and observer, later also as an interpreter. In this recording I present a double-reading of a selection of Glass' compositions, starting from what I would call the metropolitan period - radical and slightly schizoid ('70s and early '80s) - up to the more meditative and intimate pieces of the last fifteen years. The inclusion of the North Star block should be interpreted in this sense. In 1978 I attended a concert in which Philip Glass and his ensemble performed several cuts from North Star, and I was particularly impressed by the great impact of this music, a sweeping and electric wall of sound. I attempted to recreate the same compactness through a very tight piano-transcription, encouraged by Glass himself to reelaborate a work that by now belongs to the history of the so-called minimalist movement. As for the other pieces featured on this record, I have limited myself to interpreting Glass' scores, though without denying myself the privilege of adding my own rhythmic and dynamic coloring to what are really only signs, which the performer has the right/obligation to bring back to life according to his own personality (to tell the truth in Closing I did more than this, radically modifying the left-hand part and tempo). In Metamorphosis One and Mad Rush, instead, I faithfully followed the composer's piano score. Why Circles? Because, to me, Philip Glass' music has no beginning and no end. The use of circular compositional patterns stands out as one of its main features. Yet it also possesses a natural and polished intensity, that often acquires a three-dimensional quality surrounding the listener and the performer with the balance inherent in the sphere - an enlightened peacebringer in our troubled times.
CONVERSATION WITH PHILIP GLASS by Claudio Chianura.
"I think of myself mainly as an artist that works for the theater, save for an occasional symphonic or piano piece. If you look at my music, you will see that for the most part it is for theater, for opera, for dance or for cinema, which is a form of theater."
It's true, but you also seem to have a strong interest for piano solo.
"Relating to the piano has very personal implications. When I perform I try to create an intimate relationship with those who listen. This is essential for creating a bridge between the composer, his music and his audience. When there is nobody else on stage, when it's only you and the piano, what emerges is a direct, unmediated relationship between performer and public. I started performing when I was ten years old. I've been doing it for fifty years, and I could never stop! I hold an average of twenty concerts per year. This of course does not mean that others can't perform my music: for example pianist Arturo Stalteri has taken some of my pieces and is working on them."
What do you think of the current academic scene?
"I can't say much about it because I don't know it well enough. I know that there are many university and music-school students who organize concerts; I know that there are many scholarships for these young people, and I'm sure that there are many gifted composers among them. Personally, though, I'm more interested in another type of music. I feel closer to artists such as Arvo Pärt, Giya Kancheli and Gavin Bryars, to mention a few, who are non-academic musicians."
Do problems related to contemporary music's capacity to communicate still exist, such as those faced by early minimalists?
"Towards the mid-Sixties a generation of composers living in America wanted to change the way contemporary music was offered to the public. This group of people, to which I belonged, thought that twelve-tone music (which had been around for fifty years) had come to a standstill: it no longer had an audience, and it simply kept on repeating itself. So there was a new approach, the composer became a performer, and this was the case for Riley, La Monte Young, Reich, and myself; we were very much involved in spreading our music in first person. We began going in the opposite direction of that taken by twelve-tone music. This went on for ten years. By 1974, however, it was as if all the basic ideas of so-called minimalism had been expressed: in about ten years everything had been defined. The music ran the risk of becoming once again predictable, it was no longer original as in the beginning."
What was your approach in terms of thinking about music?
"Ours was not an ideological movement. There was not a school such as the Darmstadt school, or a review to which we referred. There were no polemical intentions, all was focused on the act of performing, rather that discussing, the music. We had the impression that the old generation had ended up talking too much about music, all they did was talk, so we avoided doing so. The idea at the core was to find once again an audience, the audience that contemporary music had lost. In Romanticism, during the previous century, music performances brought the public closer, while during our century it was exactly the opposite. We wanted to play in front of an audience because it is the only way to know what is happening. The more abstract serious music avoided the challenge of the public's reaction. Instead we performed up to sixty or seventy concerts a year."
It's a kind of strategy very different from traditional ones.
"Yes but it did not imply doing what people want, as is often the case in pop music. One can start instead from the conception of an ideal public, thinking about what would be the best public, so as not to compose specifically for a preexisting public. The aim is that the public will be able to follow the music without us needing to make it easy."
What do you think about the progress of technology related to music?
"I think technology has helped music a great deal. Today with very few instruments one can obtain a full-fledged sound. In addition, sampling provides the possibility to work with an enormous variety of sounds. With less than ten people we were able to perform the soundtrack of Powaqqatsi, while it had taken thirty or forty to record it. Technology is a valid support and it has developed very rapidly in music thanks to pop artists; composers such as myself, who pay more attention to innovations, have immediately adopted it."
Milan, November 1997.
MUSIC IN THE IRON AGE by Vittorio Castelnuovo.
Philip Glass and Arturo Stalteri or, if you prefer, Philip Glass' and Arturo Stalteri's music, have one thing in common: the gift of communication. This observation might seem trivial, because the ability to communicate is supposedly one of the essential features of a musician. Yet this is not always so, and lovers of avant-garde music - to which these two artists belong - know it well. Both have, though on different registers, developed their music always maintaining it accessible to everybody, and never losing sight of this aim. In fact it is not accidental that Glass is the most popular among minimalist composers emerged in the '60s and '70s. While on the one hand he has delved in his work inspired by Oriental culture, on the other hand he has always sought the public's opinion, even before seeking its consensus. The will to explore all the musical literature, the interest in cinema, in theatre, in rock music, reveal his secret wish: to avoid the exclusion of anything and anybody, along Walt Whitman's call for participation which makes of every I an us, and which actually marks the experience of many American artists. From a different standpoint, Arturo Stalteri has the merit of having renewed his insight and his approach without speculating on memory, as many others have done. Stalteri's artistic career highlights not only his talent but also his curiosity. This element is confirmed by the present recording, which provides a double opportunity: it can be equally appreciated by those already familiar with the original versions as by those who hear Glass - and this type of music - for the first time. This record's beauty stems exactly from the way it offers a listening opportunity, and succeeds in bringing back to life a distant music. This was achieved in particular through a careful selection of tracks (drawn mainly from North Star and then from Glassworks, from Satyagraha and Solo Piano, thus covering various moments in the American musician's artistic development), and through a lively and transparent reinterpretation, bringing the music to a wider public without losing sight of the rigor and freedom of research. The choice of solo-performance is both a personal and a public one and, in the combination of creativity and synthesis, reveals the nature of a musician whose talent has just begun to emerge.
" When an artist is playing wonderfully
the 'self' no longer exists.
There is only love and beauty,
and that is art".
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