glass notes
Follow Up….(with reviews and Editorial)


For those who couldn't listen live, you can hear the full broadcast for the next six days here.  For those interested, Symphony No.7 "Toltec" will be available from Orange Mountain Music before the end of September.

REVIEWS, Good and Bad:

The Independent: " Very lyrical, very easy on the ear, it worked
like a beautifully oiled machine, and finally achieved a shimmering beauty."

From the Guardian: "On the whole, these crudely crafted works – rather wasteful of the vast
array of orchestral talent they demand – certainly allow ample time to
contemplate the thin line dividing ecstasy from boredom."

From the Financial Times: " As the clock ticks towards midnight the mind should be in a suitably dulled state to accept Glass’s slowly repetitive music" " The symphony is an impressive work and it was delivered with real panache."

Editorial: I feel the review from is the best journalistic analysis of what happened the other night. Silly me, I thought the point was that there was a large appreciative crowd who went to hear music and enjoyed themselves.

The age of Boulez is thankfully over and I'm happy to see that that type of Modernism died during the lifetime of its greatest proponents.  The work that a Toltec Symphony has to do is to challenge an audience in someway, and if it's good enough, it will be remembered and revisited over the next few decades. Whether it is any good remains to be seen. That is up to individuals who work in the world of music and the public who attends concerts and buy albums.

The Violin Concerto (No.1) is another matter.  The piece is over 2 decades old.  To summarize it as in any way "soporific" or to state something like "in a brave attempt to wrestle some melody from the chain of broken chord figurations" (as if Kremer or any violinist is trying to salvage a piece by playing the notes that the composer put to paper) is a pathetic attempt at music journalism. 

Its indicting a piece of music and putting it down though its proven rewarding for musicians and audiences alike for decades. It's akin to complaining about the pounding chords at the beginning of the Rite of Spring as being "mindlessly chugging to no goal whatsoever, it's merely an orchestral effect reeking of superficiality and formalism in music."  I mean, who are these people?

My guess is that they are the people who are upset and bitter that the Birtwistle concert wasn't as well attended.  I'm very happy that they won't have to wait long to berate the piece again when it has another major performance by the London Philharmonic next summer (only months after No.2 makes its UK premiere with the same orchestra).

3 thoughts on “Follow Up….(with reviews and Editorial)”

  1. I was at the Albert Hall for the concert and I’ve listened again to both works, and I agree with some of the criticisms of Kremer’s solo playing in the concerto. His lack of engagement with the orchestra was egregious, given that the composer had just mentioned how it was his intention that the soloist “emerge” from the orchestra, and oscillate in and out as the themes pass back and forth from soloist to ensemble. His sound was wiry, and some of his double-stops were just plain out of tune. A shame we didn’t have Adele Anthony, whose recording of the work is far, far superior to Kremer’s. The critics have praised DRD’s conducting, but his choice of tempo for the second movement was misjudged: when the movement is paced so slowly, taking the tempo down as far as he did can work against the piece. It felt very un-fluent.
    The symphony was magnificent – I love those pregnant pauses, and the choral line.

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