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GLASS, Philip (b. 1937)

GLASSWORLDS • 1: PIANO WORKS AND TRANSCRIPTIONS

GLASSWORKS: I. OPENING • DREAMING AWAKE • ORPHÉE SUITE • HOW NOW


  • Nicolas Horvath, piano

Philip Glass has made an immense and stylistically wide-ranging contribution to piano repertoire. The Orphée Suite, a transcription of excerpts from the first opera in Glass’ Cocteau Trilogy, is one of his most distinctive piano pieces, blending virtuosity and melodic richness. In contrast, the hypnotic How Now is structurally influenced by Indian ragas and gamelan music, whilst Dreaming Awake contains one of the most powerful climaxes in all Glass’ works. Performed by Nicolas Horvath, a Scriabin Competition first prize winner, this is the first release in the complete Glass solo piano edition which will include many premières.

Tracklist

1
Glassworks: I. Opening (1981) (00:06:17)
 
Orphee Suite (arr. P. Barnes for piano) (2000) (00:00:00 )
2
I. The Cafe (00:04:41)
3
II. Orphee's Bedroom (00:01:34)
4
III. Journey to the Underworld (00:03:22)
5
IV. Orphee and the Princess (00:04:08)
6
V. Return to Orphee's House (00:02:41)
7
VI. Orphee's Return (00:06:58)
8
VII. Orphee's Bedroom-Reprise (00:03:53)
9
Dreaming Awake (2003) * (00:14:48)
10
How Now (1968) (00:30:38)
* World Première Recording
Total Time: 01:19:00

The Artist

Horvath, Nicolas Recognised as a leading interpreter of Liszt’s music, Nicolas Horvath has in recent years become one of the most sought-after pianists of his generation. Holder of a number of awards, including first prize of the Scriabin and the Luigi Nono International Competitions, he frequently organizes events and concerts of unusual length, sometimes over twelve hours, such as Philip Glass’ complete piano music or Erik Satie’s Vexations, and composers from a number of countries have written for him. Nicolas Horvath is a Steinway artist.

The Composer

Philip Glass (b. 1937) discovered “modern” music while working as a teenager in his father’s Baltimore record shop. When he graduated with a master’s degree in composition from Juilliard in 1962, he had studied with William Bergsma, Vincent Persichetti and Darius Milhaud. His early works subscribed to the twelve-tone system and other advanced techniques. But in spite of some success (including a BMI Award and a Ford Foundation Grant), he grew increasingly dissatisfied with his music. “I had reached a kind of dead end. I just didn’t believe in my music anymore,” he said. A 1964 Fulbright Scholarship brought him to Paris, where he studied with Nadia Boulanger and met Ravi Shankar, the Indian sitar virtuoso. In their different ways, those two individuals transformed his work. Boulanger, in his words, “completely remade my technique,” and Shankar introduced him to “a whole different tradition of music that I knew nothing about.” He rejected his previous concepts and developed a system in which the modular form and repetitive structure of Indian music were wedded to traditional Western ideas of melody and simple triadic harmony.

After returning to the United States in 1967, he formed the Philip Glass Ensemble: three saxophonists (doubling on flutes), three keyboard players (including himself), a singer and a sound engineer. Embraced by the progressive art and theatrical community in New York City during the early 1970s, the Ensemble performed in art galleries, artist lofts and museum spaces rather than traditional performing art centres. It soon began to tour and make recordings, providing Glass with a stage on which to première and promote his ever-growing catalogue of works. It established him as a contemporary voice with something personal and thought-provoking to say, and since those heady early days he has never looked back. Although he has sometimes been labelled a “minimalist” along with composers such as Steve Reich and Terry Riley, Glass rejects the term.

Reviews

“For all the piano lovers and contemporary music, this CD is a must have.” – AudioNec

“Pianist Nicolas Horvath exhibits skill and inventiveness in his performance, qualities which allow him to go wherever the music leads.” – Scene Magazine

International Piano

“Somehow, the objectivity of the sound of a piano suits the music of Philip Glass perfectly. Certainly that’s how it seems in Nicolas Horvath’s expert performances on this…” – International Piano

“The technical challenge to the pianist is huge, but causes no problems to the Monegasque pianist Nicolas Horvath. His virtuosity is astounding.” – Pizzicato