A treasure island of piano music — Spiegel Online
The Grand Piano label continues to uncover gems of the piano repertoire. — Fanfare

GLASS, Philip (b. 1937)

GLASSWORLDS • 5: ENLIGHTENMENT

MAD RUSH • METAMORPHOSIS II• 600 LINES • THE SOUND OF SILENCE


  • Nicolas Horvath, piano

The works in this programme demonstrate Philip Glass’s perpetual goal of connecting with his audience. Taking shape as something like a hidden sonata form, Mad Rush contrasts peaceful atmosphere with tempestuousness and mesmerizing beauty. The last of its kind in Glass’s oeuvre, 600 Lines, here receiving its première recording on solo piano, is an obsessive and hypnotically restless toccata that represents the zenith of his experiences while working with Ravi Shankar. These two monumental works ate joined by première recordings of the subtly transformed Metamorphosis 2, and Glass’s only transcription in the form of Paul Simon’s The Sound of Silence.

Visit the ALBUM MINI-SITE

Tracklist

Glass, Philip
1
Mad Rush (1979) (00:21:48)
2
Metamorphosis II (revised version) (1988) * (00:07:08)
3
600 Lines (1967) (00:40:37)
Simon, Paul
4
The Sound of Silence (arr. P. Glass for piano) (2007) * (00:03:24)
* World Première Recording
Total Time: 01:12:57

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

“Mr Horvath continues this fascinating survey of Glass’s piano music with performances that satisfy me completely.” – American Record Guide

“Nicolas Horvath plays this music wonderfully well: warm and expressive or cold and mechanical as required. His notes are again excellent, and the Fazoli piano sounds glorious. If you appreciate all of Glass’s styles, then this will provide great satisfaction.” – MusicWeb International

“…Horvath plays this music with considerable attention to the dynamic level of every note, …Thus, it does not take long for the attentive listener to realize that, while the structures of the marks on the score page may be repetitive, the performance itself has a rhetorical shape of its own that enhances the surface structure of repetition with the deep structure of something more like a journey.” – The Rehearsal Studio

“The piano of Glass in technicolor: certainly unusual for fans of Glass but certainly absolutely convincing.” – ResMusica.com