Lyrics by Laurie Anderson, David Byrne, Paul Simon and Suzanne Vega
The Philip Glass Ensemble; Michael Riesman, conductor
Featuring: Bernard Fowler, Kronos Quartet, Janice Pendarvis, Douglas Perry, The Roches and Linda Ronstadt
2 Lightning 6:42
3 Freezing 3:16
4 Liquid Days (Part One) 4:45
5 Open The Kingdom (Liquid Days, Part Two) 6:59
6 Forgetting 8:10
I began by asking David Byrne to write words that I could then set to music. We had worked together once before, and I found it such an easy and natural collaboration that I thought of extending the process with an entire record of songs.
It seemed to me that the people best suited to help with the lyrics would, like David, be other songwriters. It was clear that they, more than anyone else, would understand the practical demands of setting words to music. The people I asked — Paul Simon, Suzanne Vega, David Byrne and Laurie Anderson— are, I feel, not only outstanding songwriters on their own but also lyricists whose poetry reflects individual styles and approaches to songwriting.
The words come first. From these I fashioned a set of six songs which, together, form a cycle of themes ranging from reflections on nature to classic romantic settings. After the music was written, I — along with producer Kurt Munkacsi and conductor Michael Riesman— began the long and difficult process of “casting” singers for the individual songs. We felt that the interpretation a singer brings to a song is an immense contribution to its character — contributing their own personality to the work perhaps more than any other performer.
All in all, Songs from Liquid Days has brought together quite an astonishing assortment of people, from the progressive Kronos String Quartet to singers Linda Ronstadt, Doug Perry and Janice Pendarvis and Bernard Fowler. Among them, they cover a fair range of the contemporary music practiced in our time, from experimental to rock to opera. Add to them the writers already mentioned and one might well ask, “What have they all got in common?”
For me, their commonality is that they are an uncommonly talented group of people — and about as diverse in personal style and practical approach to music— making as you’re ever likely to find working together. I personally am very proud of my association with all these artists and, lastly, grateful to them for their contribution to this record.
Performed by The Philip Glass Ensemble. Michael Riesman, Conductor.
Lyrics by: Laurie Anderson (Forgetting), David Byrne (Liquid Days), Paul Simon (Changing Opinion), Suzanne Vega (Lightning, Freezing). Featuring: Bernard Fowler (Changing Opinion), Kronos Quartet (Freezing, Forgetting), Janice Pendarvis (Lightning), Douglas Perry (Liquid Days (Part Two)), The Roches (Liquid Days (Part One), Forgetting), Linda Ronstadt (Freezing, Forgetting).
Violins: Sanford Allen, Carol Pool, Linda Quan, Elliot Rosoff, Richard Sortomme, Marti Sweet. Violas: Paul Doktor,Jill Jaffe, Sol Greitzer. Cello: Frederick Zlotkin. Bass: John Bed. Trumpets: Wilmer Wise, Stephen Burns, Philip Ruecktenwald. Trombone: James Pugh. Bass Trombone: Alan Raph. French Horns: Robert Carlisle, Joseph Anderer. Flutes: Paul Dunkel, Jack Kripl. Soprano Saxophone: Jon Gibson. Alto Saxophone: Richard Peck. Keyboards: Michael Riesman, Philip Glass.
Produced by Kurt Munkacsi for Euphorbia Productions, Ltd. Recorded and Mixed at The Living Room, NY, NY. Engineers: Don Christensen and Dan Dryden. Additional recording at The Complex, LA, CA. Engineer: George Massenburg. Assistant Engineer: Sharon Rice. Mastered at Masterdisk, NY, NY. Engineer: Bill Kipper.
Art Direction: Joel Zimmerman. Cover Photograph: Robert Mapplethorpe.
Music Published by Dunvagen Music Publishers, Inc. © 1986 Sony Music Entertainment Inc.