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Glass Houses: The Music of Philip Glass

I have the pleasure of checking out Philip Glass at the National Concert Hall tonight. Despite the fact that I know next-to-nothing about music, I’m quite fond of Glass’ rather wonderful compositions – mostly through pop culture osmosis. It seems that Glass is the go-to guy if you need something wonderfully emotional and catchy, yet grandiose and sweeping to accompany a given film. He’s done countless soundtracks, but these are the big “on-screen” moments which I think of when I think of Glass.

First up, Watchmen. There’s a wonderful sequence on Mars scored to Glass’ Prophecies and Pruitt Igoe, which is perhaps the best scene in the entire jumbled up and deeply flawed film, as the past and present collide to the ominous soundtrack and narration. However, I can’t find that, so watch the trailer instead.

Then there’s the wonderful Battlestar Galactica. When they needed classical music for a space-bound human civilisation, they turned to Glass. Of course, they’d later return to Bob Dylan for All Along the Watchtower, but that’s some great company to be in. This is Metamorphosis One, an oddly appropriate piece of forshadowing for the character listening to it.

And another clip I can’t locate, this time from The Truman Show. Anyway, the music (appropriately titled Truman Sleeps) should be enough to conjure up the wonderful image of Jim Carrey as the eponymous Truman asleep, watched through a nightvision lens as Christof, the creator of his world, touches the giant screen the screen, as if to sooth him paternally – the closest the two will ever come to direct contact.

There are tonnes more that mind, but these are the ones that first jumped into my head when I heard that Philip Glass would be coming to Dublin, and these will be the songs I will be listening to on my iPod on the way home.

10 Responses

  1. Thank you Darren, for given me an opportunity to hear the Truman Show theme again, it’s beautiful. Hope you enjoy the concert.

  2. @Darren I’m going to see Philip Glass in Cork at the weekend, so I’ll be looking forward to hearing how brilliant he was in Dublin! Metamorphosis 1, Wichita Vortex Sutra and Mad Rush (Especially this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1vMpkIRAjo) are my favourites. I was actually going to do a post on Mad Rush at some point. Anyway, enjoy the concert!

    • He did Wichita Vortex Sutra, which was pretty awesome (but for some reason reminded me of The Simpsons). It was a beautiful concert. Absolutely incredible.

  3. The Comedian’s death was a beautifully shot scene, too bad everything else in the film couldn’t compare.

    • I actually didn’t like the opening fight. I did, however, adore the sequences on Mars and in prison with Rorschach (“I’m not locked in here with you”).

  4. I’d never noticed the Simpson similarities..until now.

    Great to hear that it was so magical – I can’t wait for Saturday now 🙂

    • He really is a talent. And he actually seemed quite nice. It was a shame the Concert Hall broke out the tacky multi-coloured spotlights. Philip Glass on piano was good enough for me.

  5. Went to it on Saturday. I have to say, it was one of the best performances I’ve been to.

    It began with Wendy Sutter and Songs and Poems for Solo Cello, which left me completely entranced. Mick Rossi had a shockingly brilliant ability on percussion and was excellent with Philip Glass on a piece that I think was called “Music Four Hands”. He, of course, included the odd film score – Atmospheric and fascinating to see the “mechanics” of it all, including Mick Rossi’s contribution. He finished with Wichita Vortex Sutra and Allen Ginsberg’s voice layered over the music, which I’ll never ever forget – Felt surrounded by the music and poetry. It was completely surreal, in a brilliant way! We were glad we were sitting in the second row too, as we had a clear view of the piano keys 🙂

    As you can probably tell, I still have this expression on my face after it :O

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