It's the 6th of January and I finally have a moment to come to this blog again. I've essentially been off the map since December 23rd. There was lots of travel and lounging that was not particularly relaxing. But I'm back and it's a new year.
If you didn't have a a chance in the craziness before Christmas, you should definitely check out Kepler. Amazon if offering the CDs for less than the download on iTunes at $18.64 and not the reail price of almost $30. I feel very strongly about this piece from beginning to end. As Jose reported earlier in the year, the Landestheater Linz Opera announced months ago that there would be a Kepler DVD and my friend in Germany who atteneded the Brooklyn concert performances notified me when it played on German TV. So we are left to expect that it's out there…I'm happy about that since there's a paucity of Glass operas on DVD. There's the out of print Stuttgart DVD of Satyagraha which I own but don't watch it very often…I'm not sure why transvestites have to be in most modern European opera productions but at least it didn't include rats like last year's Lohengrin at Bayreuth.
I noticed today on John Adams' blog that he addresses something that has frustrated Glass fans for a long time, namely that not enough due credit was given to Glass for this now famous opera. In Adams' book from 2 years ago, the role (influence) of Glass was unavoidable to write about – so I couldn't wait till I got to that part. Then I was disappointed when the whole issue was given about half a page. For such a good writer who loves writing prose in great abundance, I sensed it was one of the only things that he didn't really want to talk about despite the fact that he had to, albeit with his own spin. Anyhow, this is how he put it today:
"In this use of arpeggiation I was much indebted to my predecessor Philip Glass, and Glass fans who grumbled that my opera had appropriated some of his stylistic earmarks doubtless had a point. But what make “Nixon” especially fiendish are the constantly tripped rhythmic changes and the driving, inexorable two-against-three texture of the counterpoint. This is not rhythmic rocket science—Elliot Carter or Conlon Nancarrow employ much more complex rhythmic collisions."
There's the requisite dig in there in case you didn't catch it… how other composers write more complicated rythms. Maybe he should borrow from those composers in his future work. I shouldn't say anything, it's his burden to live with and I should give him credit for wanting to talk about it. Plus, I'm fickle and will probably be attending Nixon at the Met next month.
Moving on…the main philipglass.com website is undergoing some changes so patience will be required for the parts of the site that are not currently working. The greatest temporary frustration is that the performance calendar is down. Good thing January is a relatively quiet month with ICARUS is being the a noteworthy event as it's at the Baltimore Symphony, Orphée is being done in San Fran, and McDuffie has a of the American Four Seasons in Germany. In the meantime, check out the event calendar at Chester Novello who rents out Glass' scores, and the Pomegranate Arts calendar who produces all the Philip Glass solo piano and PGE performance.