glass notes
Look Familiar…Pick of the Week: Music for Voices

Here's an interesting piece on "Matteo Pericoli's NYC Views" including "the view from Philip Glass' apartment."


  Here is the view from my office:

2 11-42-18

Indeed it's a nice day in New York City.  80 degrees and clear. It's been terribly hot and muggy for weeks.  I've never been one to like New York or even think it's a nice place.  The New York I can admit to sort of liking would be the grimy New York as seen in 1980s movies like 'Coming to America' and 'Trading Places.'  It was a back-drop to the comedies of my youth. I can't imagine why people continue to come here.

That city may exist in the fringes of the Burroughs now but most neighborhoods and the entirety of Manhattan are parasitically consumed by rich people.  A few holdovers from when the city was a cool place still hang in there with rent controlled apartments, but mostly this is a place where people send their kids to have fun on their dime. You'd be amazed at how few people actually work.  Granted, we don't see the people who actually work because they are in offices or cubicles while in places like the SoHo district, where once upon a time poor and struggling artists made history, the district is now exclusively high end shops where do-nothings spend $115 on t-shirts.  I say do-nothings rather than unemployed because these people have no jobs, and apparently don't have to work. Full generations of people who don't have any need to work is quite disturbing.

I never knew that city other than from those movies. I can't imagine why anyone would want to be here nowadays.  However, in the spirit of that stolen creative moment of the 60s and 70s, I bring to you "Music for Voices" from 1970. Written while Glass was music director for the fledgling Mabou Mines Theater Company, this recording comes from a performance at the Paula Cooper Gallery in Soho in 1972. 

As with many scores from that time period, it brings me to the time and place of that New York in its full glory of trash strikes, dark dangerous alleys, high crimes, graffiti-ed subways, high drug use, and great overall cultural upheaval in the United States. 

Music like this could only come out of that time and place.  It will be interesting to hear the music truly representative of our current time 40 years from now. I have my own theories about that which I'll share in due time.  But for now, this Monday, I toast to the memory of that bizarrely beautiful hiccough of time which produced so much good and bad art: New York in the 60s and 70s.

Music for Voices (complete with car sounds driving by around the 6 minute mark)

Music For Voices



3 thoughts on “Look Familiar…Pick of the Week: Music for Voices”

  1. I’ll trade you places any day Richard! You ought to try Tampa Bay once- hot & humid all the time, ZERO culture, lousy orchestra, few good restaurants, rednecks galore, no mass transit (have to drive EVERYWHERE)….

  2. Great blog post and excellent music selection. I’ve never heard anything from Early Voice, and I guess I never made it a priority on my wishlist. I’ve just bumped it up though based on this. Terrific stuff.

Leave a Reply