- Virgin Classics VC 7 91168.
- Virgin Classics Ultraviolet CUV 61121.
- Performed by The London Chamber Orchestra.
- Music Director: Christopher Warren-Green.
- Soloists on Façades:
- John Harle: soprano saxophone.
- Simon Haram: soprano saxophone.
- Producer: Tim Handley.
- Sound Engineer: Keith Grant.
- Executive Producer: Simon Foster.
- Recording: All Saints Church, Petersham, 1, 4 & 5 March 1990.
- Design: Carrol, Dempsey & Thirkell.
- Adams: Associated Music Publishers, Inc.
- Glass: Dunvagen Music Publishers, Inc.
- Reich: Hendon Music Inc, a Boosey & Hawkes Company.
- Heath: Chester Music Ltd.
- © 1990 Virgin Classics Limited.
1 - 4. John Adams "Shaker Loops" (24:46).
1. Shaking and Trembling (7:59).5. Philip Glass "Façades" (7:48).
2. Hymning Slews (5:22).
3. Loops and Verses (7:52).
4. A Final Shaking (3:42).
6. Steve Reich "Eight Lines" (17:56).
7 - 10. Philip Glass "Company" (7:17).
7. Movement 1 (2:36).11. Dave Heath "The Frontier" (8:13).
8. Movement 2 (1:53).
9. Movement 3 (1:58).
10. Movement 4 (2:30).
Total Time 1:08:01.
NotesAbout the music
An immediate point of interest regarding this recording is that all of the composers represented on it are still alive. Unusual for Classical music. We of course wish each of them a lng and happy life, although we hope it will be taken in the right spirit when we express our certainty that their music will outlive them.
Minimalist music, from where we stand on our side of the Atlantic, seems largely to have been the preserve of American composers and musicians. This recording may be taken as something of a European reply; both through the interpretation of the music, and in the fact that we invited a young English composer to write a piece especially for LCO and this recording.
The most obvious feature of minimalist music is perhaps rhythm, although we found ourselves focusing more and more on the different tone colours which the music seemed to demand of us as the project progressed.
In this music we found great depth as well as a high level of excitement.Christopher Warren-Green & LCO.
'Minimalism seeks the meaning of art in the immediate and personal experience of the viewer in the presence of a specific work. There is no reference to another previous experience (no representation), no implication of a higher level of experience (no metaphysics), no promise of a deeper intellectual experience (no metaphor). Instead Minimalism presents the viewer with objects of charged neutrality; objects usually rectilinear, employing one or two materials, one or two colours, repeated identical units, factory-made or store-bought; objects that are without any hierarchy of interest, that directly engage and interact with the particular space thay occupy; objects that reveal everything about themselves, but little about the artists; objects whose subject is the viewer'.So wrote Michael Craig-Martin in his introduction to the collection of minimalist works at the Tate Gallery in Liverpool. Included in that collection are examples of the 'piles of bricks', or Equivalent VIII, by Carl Andre and pieces by Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt and Richard Serra.
Minimamism in painting and sculpture was an important feature of artistic life in the New York of the 1960s and had a considerable effect, not only on other painters and sculptors, but also on composers of the generation which includes Philip Glass and Steve Reich. Philip Glass, indeed, worked for a time as assistant to Richard Serra and has collaborated often with Sol LeWitt, and it was in Donald Judd's studio in downtown Manhattan that Glass's Music with Changing Parts was given a notable performance. During the late 1960s, after Reich had returned to New York from San Francisco and Glass had come back from Paris, the two composers discussed music often and played in each other's ensembles, but in time tehy went their separate ways. In the words of John Rockwell (taken from his book 'All American Music') they found themselves 'in competition for the same grants and performance opportunities and were invoked interchangeably in the press, they developed a fierce rivalry, whic has since been muted by manners and ameliorated by their divergent stylistic directions'.
Philip Glass was born in January 1937. He studied flute in his native Baltimore and then entered the University of Chicago. Later he studied with Vincent Persichetti and William Bergsma at the Julliard School (as did Steve Reich) and with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. After having worked with the Indian sitarist, Ravi Shankar, on the music for a film he decided to withdraw his previously published works -about twenty of them- and to turn instead (again in the words of John Rockwell) to 'defiantly simple strings of notes full of jumping rhythmic life, with the pitch choices simple and almost arbitrary'. Unlike Reich, who has said that he hates opera as a form, Glass has already composed several operas, notably Einstein on the Beach, Satyagraha and Akhnaten, as well as much other music for the theatre and the cinema. Like Reich, however, Philip Glass formed a group of musicians with the express purpose of achieving performances of his own music.
Both Façades (for 2 soprano saxophones and strings) and Company (for strings) were first invisaged as what Philip Glass calls 'theater music'. Façades was written for Godfrey Reggio's Koyaanisqatsi, a film of images and music with no narration, principal actors or dialogue. The music was composed with a montage of Wall Street skyscrapers in mind, but this particular scene was cut and did not, in fact appear in the film. Company was composed for a dramatic adaptation of Samuel Beckett's novel of the same name. It was first heard in the Public Theater, New York, in the winter of 1984.
Minimal Music and the Composers by Dean Suzuki. Survey of Minimalist Music to 1974.
GlassPages - Philip Glass on the Web