Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Philip Glass - How Now, etc (Steffen Schleiermacher organ/piano, rel. 2010)

Haven't actually posted any Glass on this blog yet, so here we go.  The three works on this collection were composed in the late 60s, and are among the best representations of the composer's early, austere and challenging style.  Disliking the term 'minimalist', Philip Glass always referred to himself as a "composer of music with repetitive structures", and for me, German composer/pianist/organist Steffen Schleiermacher is one of the very best Glass interpreters who can really bring out the simplicity, and then complexity by addition, subtraction and mutation, of these structures.

Music In Similar Motion and Music In Fifths, both composed in 1969, were originally written and recorded as works for a small ensemble, but on this recording Schleiermacher strips them down to just a single organ to great effect; the gradually evolving patterns are laid bare and the single instrument arguably enhances the hypnotic potential.  In between these two on this programme is a piano version of How Now (1968), which I also have on a recording of Glass' debut concert performance (released on his archival imprint).  On that occasion, Glass performed How Now on organ for a patience-stretching half hour, but the piece is transformed in Schleiermacher's hands into a calm, extended meditation that Erik Satie might've been proud of.  If you're looking for the minimal, engrossing magic of early Philip Glass, you'll scarcely find it more perfectly expressed than on this release.

music with repetitive structures

6 comments:

  1. Thanks! Not familiar with this BUT I do like "minimalist" aka repetitive/trance music such as Terry Riley and Peter Michael Hamel's solo material. Look forward to this!

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  2. I've been looking for this for AGES. Thanks!

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  3. Thanks for sharing this. Do you happen to know what organ Schleiermacher is playing on the two organ tracks?

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    1. Not sure I'm afraid. Schleiermacher's sleevenote only says "I have chosen to play a number of electric organs"... and "chosen registers close to Farfisa organs of the 60s". No other info given in the CD booklet, or in reviews I've read. Shame, as it's the sort of info I'd also be interested to know!

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  4. sir! i'm just starting here but wow thanks! I hope it's not rude to ask, but do you have any of the angus maclise dreamweapon music? especially ii, iii and/or iv? I've heard bits and it sure is neat! but hard to hear or download! thanks again for a great blawg!

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    1. don't have those I'm afraid. must give them a listen sometime.

      thanks for your comments!

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