What’s Up with Philip Glass – Some Approachable Glass

What’s Up with Philip Glass – Some Approachable Glass

Philip Glass has been for close to five decades one of the most important and successful of American composers. He is generally considered to be a “minimalist“, a term he dislikes.

He has composed everything from small solo piano pieces to full symphonies. There are film scores and operas. So, what is it that puts so many people off and dismissive of this composer?

When Lou Harrison was interviewed for American Mavericks, he said of Philip Glass, “the one I like best, or feel closest to, and it’s likely because I know him and like him, and that’s Philip Glass. He’s a good composer and Dennis brought him here… I didn’t like his improvisation on the piano, which was equal temperament triads till I thought I was going to scream, but nonetheless, the orchestral works were stunning. I admire him. He’s an insider artist, there’s no doubt about it, but I do admire him and like him, and he’s a nice man, too….”

I thought it might be worthwhile to come up with a list of works by Philip Glass which are “approachable”, easier than some others to get into. This list is subjective and not exhaustive.

Aguas De Amazonia – Brazilian influenced percussion, with the amazing group Uakti, after a visit in Brazil with Paul Simon.
Aguas Da Amazonia

Animundi – a sound track for a Godfrey Reggio film
Anima Mundi

Etudes for Piano – solo piano. Etudes. What could be hard?
Etudes for Piano

Glassworks – nothing could be simpler.

The Hours – a film score
The Hours

Kronos Quartet – String Quartets No. 2,3,4 & 5
Kronos Quartet plays Philip Glass

Solo Piano
Philip Glass Solo Piano

So, don’t take my opinion, take the opinion of Lou Harrison. You might not like everything that I like. Everything I listed here is available at Amazon in mp3 (or CD, if you prefer). In the mp3 listings, you can sample each track. Give a listen. Open yourself up to this grand maestro of American music, this American Maverick.