glass notes
Brass Sextet – An Oldie


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Brass Sextet, composed in 1962/64 for two trumpets, two horns, trombone and tuba, is something of a curiosity. It was written when Philip Glass, after graduating from the Julliard School of Music, was composer-in-residence with the Pittsburgh Public Schools on a Ford Foundation project. This was several years before he began to become known for the repetitive minimalist techniques which launched him to fame and have enabled him to enter some of the world's leading opera houses.

The Sextet is not listed by Glass now, but it was actually published in England in 1966 by Novello & Co. in their Music for Today Series edited by Geoffrey Bush. The writing shifts rather uneasily from consonance to dissonance but there is plenty of American precedent behind the Hymn, Ballad and gently jazzy Finale.

— Peter Dickinson

4 thoughts on “Brass Sextet – An Oldie”

  1. Oddly enough I actually like this piece of his. One can only imagine what Glass would have sounded like if he failed to adopt the repetitive arpeggio sound that he’s become infamous now. Like his first string quartet, I find his juvenilia more compelling than his other work. -Bz

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