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Music Consumption: Philip Glass
03/09/1998 Philip Glass: Einstein on the Beach

Philip Glass's Einstein on the Beach

The CBS vinyl set with booklet. I got this for $15 at a used record store. It had been played once, if at all. It's a stunning piece of work. While it's edited it down to fit on 4 LPs, there's still a lot to listen to. I've seen a few comments from Glass to the effect that "minimalism" is not a word that's at all applicable to his work, and I'd agree--particularly after hearing the work of La Monte Young, some of whose pieces truly are minimal (and which I like). There's a lot going on in Glass's work, but it's not beating you over the head with busyness. (Well, maybe it's beating you over the head, but not me.)

One of the most impressive moments for me is the first Knee Play, in which the two principle actresses/speakers/dancers speak one of the texts canonically. It's disorienting and strangely moving. The opera is hypnotic and transporting, as well as clear-headed, neutral, nostalgic, and late-night-lonely. Be open to it.