glass notes
Dogs Days


It seems summer is already here.  Here in New York, we know it has arrived when the already foul air becomes thicker and fouler, and people somehow get excited for summer Mozart after a the regular season of playing almost nothing but Mozart. 

For those of you with the means, I can think of fewer better ideas than escaping the city,  Mozart, and heading to one of the truly natural beauties of the world, Big Sur California, and dropping by Carmel for Philip Glass' Days & Nights Festival.

In many ways this period is the calm before the storm.  Glass is currently working on two operas, the first is called "The Lost" and will open the new Linz Opera house which you can see here under construction.


The second, "The Perfect American" about the life and death of Walt Disney, doesn't have many details announced. I speculate that it will be something of a departure from the Jungk novel.  These are the large works which will appear over the next year and a half as we know that the Ninth and Tenth symphonies have been completed, the former being premiered in Linz six months from today, then at Carnegie Hall 30 days later.  No word on a premiere of the Tenth.

I did notice that Dennis Russell Davies has programmed "Low" Symphony with the Basel Symphony in the upcoming season, where he is also Chefdirigent.  While New York will be the best place to be for the festivities over the next 18 months with premieres of the Partita, Satyagraha revived at the Met Opera, Einstein on the Beach at BAM, Koyaanisqatsi with the NY Phil, solo performances and other BIG and COOL things which are not yet announced other music capitals will also be rich with Glass music events so stay tuned.

I hope everyone has a happy Fourth wherever you are.

16 thoughts on “Dogs Days”

  1. Just think that composers shouldn’t hold a festival in their own honor- especially ones of questionable musical powers. Composers usually have festivals named after them after they are dead, not after their ideas have died. I wouldn’t mind a Muhly festival but he’s got so much going on he hasn’t the time.

  2. In fact, theres more music by others at this festival than Glass including Schubert, Mendelssohn, Shostakovich, Bartok, Schoenberg, John Moran, poetry readings, film screenings (with music not exclusively by Glass.) Its a festival with a wide purview including chamber music, dance, film, discussions on science and environmentalism.

  3. I view this festival as serving many different needs. It seems that Glass felt it addressed certain needs which werent being addressed elsewhere. That had to do with the dance/poetry/science/and environmentalism.
    There are many summer musical festivals from Bayreuth (the king of self-involved composer festivals), Tanglewood, to Ravinia, to Wolftrap, Interlochen, to Aspen to Ojai,and in the geographical area of the Days and Nights Festival you have the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary music, all addressing different cultural needs. The commonality being that in most of these cases the main need was to employ musicians in the summer.
    While I personally I love Glass music, I understand why he wouldnt program anything but his music. Indeed, this first season not only has other composers, but other disciplines like poetry, though Im guessing that the Glass music events are whats selling the tickets – more than say Schoenberg (and no Im not making a comment on musical quality). My hope is that for future seasons perhaps some of his chamber operas can be done in addition to more great music by great composers.
    Id love it if a little Bayreuth were possible, although forcibly less exclusionary than that great festival, but thats certainly not what this festival is all about.

  4. This sounds actually delightful and I am now genuinely sorry that I will not be able to attend. The inclusion of other disciplines is just the thing that is needed. I wish all involved the very best. -Bz

  5. A festival devoted entirely to Glass would be a dream. And only someone mentally backward to a high degree would argue against celebrating people when during their life. Where do trolls come from?

  6. Few composers could sustain a festival wholly devoted to their works during their lifetimes. Messiaen and Stockhauen are the exceptions to the rule however. Still, having a mix media festival sounds like an engaging event. Sadly I must tip my hat to Mr. Glass and thank him for a wonderful idea. He isn’t thinking in repetition here, but thinking forward into the future! -Bz

  7. Glass has always been preoccupied with creating an audience in his own time, not for some idealized audience of the future.
    This festival is a good idea for a lot of reasons. Of course I’d love an all Glass Festspiel with huge scale performances of his grand operas and symphonies. However he’s always been on of many interest which usually manifest in the subject matter of his works. This includes poets,writers,thinkers,religious figures,activists, and many other people l

  8. Ah, but what is music if it fails to transcend time? Glass may be in fashion for some today, but who says that Babbitt may be the composer of choice for future generations? -Bz

  9. You can have no future if you have no present. And I am supremely confident that Glass will have a large public at least through my lifetime. Well worry about 50 year chunks at a time.
    Not to mention it was a great idea to work in so many media. Three young string quartets have made long term performing commitments to his music (Smith, Carducci, and Brooklyn Rider) not to mention Kronos which will go on forever;
    Dance people love Glass music and its used in literally hundreds of ballets every season.
    Film is forever. (this preserves Mishima, Koyaanisqatsi, The Hours)
    His grand operas have been played at the Met, SF Opera, Seattle Opera, Chicago Lyric, Houston Grand, English National, and on and on. His chamber operas including In the Penal Colony (string quintet), Orph̩e and Fall of the House of Usher (chamber orch.), Enfants Terribles (three pianos) attract interest not only because of the profundity of the subject matter but also because of their affordable scale. With 7 to 10 productions a year produced worldwide РI dont fear for his theater music.
    And of his concert music, particularly his concertos are proving popular with the first violin concerto (25 years old) now a repertory staple. Concertmasters frequently take this on like Martin Chalifour of the LA Phil, Kremer has recorded it with the Wiener Philharmoniker, McDuffie with Eschenbach. McDuffie has already performed his new violin concerto over 60 times. The Rascher Saxophone quartet alone has performed its concerto over 150 times, and the Double Timpani concerto. Pianists everywhere perform and record his piano music including Paul Barnes, Bruce Brubaker, Alex Karis, Arturo Stalteri, Brank Parlic, Jeroen Van Veen, Dennis Russell Davies, Maki Namekawa, and a new recording by Sally Whitwell.
    New music ensembles everywhere perform the available early Glass works including Music in Similar Motion, Contrary Motion, in Fifths, Changing Parts, Two Pages, etc.
    Also it needs to be mentioned that Glass recorded legacy is now more than formidable. All the early music is recorded by both the PGE and others. All of the symphonies and concertos have been recorded. 18 of the 25 operas are on disc, four recordings of the complete quartets. I only mention this because recordings promote performances as much as anything else.

  10. …not a bad idea idea, Glassfan. I’ll take the end of Satagraha & The Secret Agent. I want more, of course but I’m not shure how much space I’ll be allowed.

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