Philip Glass' Etudes

Since Opening from Glassworks Glass has liked recording piano music, because, according to Jody Dalton, he feels that piano music is "romantic". With Etudes (1-10) Glass followed his 1988 release Solo Piano. Some of the Etudes may sound familiar to some listeners; Glass started writing them in the mid-90s. It also meant he could continue to combine composing and performing.

"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." (www.philipglass.com, Circles)

Etude no. 2 is thematically similar to Amazon River (Uakti: aguas da amazonia, 1999) but there are also differences. Perhaps the most obvious two are the different orchestrations (solo piano/percussion group) and (variety of) tempo. Etude no. 2 remains at a generally constant tempo (Glass plays it with some rubato) whereas Amazon River considerably accelerates, perhaps to further suggest the image of a river; getting stronger as the water goes downstream.

The CD sleeve states that Glass composed the music and the group "adapted" it. Glass composed all of the River pieces as a commission from the percussion group as a dance for Ballet Crupo. Glass said the "collaboration" would be 'a true melding of my music and Uakti's sensibilities'. Glass' Japura River is remiscent of Metamorphosis 2; with it's 2's in the bass against triplet 3's in the melody. Glass exploited this contrast in his 1979 piece Mad Rush as well as his 1986 piece Opening.

'Études Nos. 1 - 3 were composed for conductor Dennis Russell Davies on his 50th birthday in 1994. Étude No. 6 was commissioned by the Sydney Festival and it was premièred on January 12, 1996. Études Nos. 7 & 8 were commissioned by the Shambhala Community in Halifax (Canada) and the Nova Scotia Arts Council (Canada) and premièred on May 25, 1999. Each piano piece approaches the piano in a somewhat different way, producing a highly diverse set of pieces. Études Nos.1, 2 & 6 can be heard played live on two interviews with Philip Glass aired on November 8, 1995 and March 11, 1997
on KCRW radio station. Philip Glass has re-sequenced the pieces and the previous numbers
will all change.' glasspages

Head over to CheekyPromo to read about Australian pianist Sally Whitwell,
who performed some of Glass' piano etudes with him recently

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