glass notes
Einstein on the Beach at the Morgan Library

From the Wall Street Journal:

"In the never-ending quest to connect valuable, historical works on paper to current events, sometimes a museum just has to get lucky. For the Morgan Library & Museum, this summer is one of those times.

In 2010, the collector who owns Philip Glass's handwritten score of the ground-breaking 1976 opera "Einstein on the Beach" put the manuscript on deposit at the Morgan.

"At the time, we thought it might make a nice exhibit," said curator Frances Barulich. "We set aside a date, and lo and behold, we found out that there was going to be this international tour of 'Einstein …"

I recall the story of the score to Einstein in the book Music by Philip Glass.  Glass mentions that after the end of the first tour of Einstein when they discovered that the booking agent had sold Einstein to theaters at far less than it had cost to produce, Glass and Wilson were basically presented a bill in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  So Glass went back to driving a cab – and sold some scores – and just went back to the life of an artist in mid-1970's New York City. 

The booking agent had told the two young artists that the money didn't matter, that Einstein was what was going to make them – and so the only way to get it booked was to sell it for less than it cost to produce.  That brilliant European booking agent was Ninon Karlweis and ultimately she was right. 

But this story of Glass selling his original score always stuck with me.  It's nice to know that it will be on display at the Morgan Library in New York, home to so many remarkable collections, from July 13 through November 4, 2012.

Gallery Talk
Robert Wilson/Philip Glass: Einstein on the Beach
Friday, July 13, 7 p.m.

Einstein on the Beach: The Changing Image of Opera
Friday, July 13, 8 p.m.

See the revival of the landmark Einstein on the Beach at BAM
September 14–23, 2012


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