glass notes

27 thoughts on “On the Glass Cello Concerto No.2”

  1. I’ve heard Matt Haimovitz play the cello and he’s very good, but I didn’t know he was also an accomplished piano player. Via the link from the Washington City Paper: “After that, Haimovitz heads to Cincinnati, having just been tapped to perform the debut of Philip Glass’s ‘Piano Concerto No. 2’ with the Cincinnati Symphony.”

  2. Will this be a throwback in form as was the case of his last violin “concerto”, or will this be composed in his new pretend baroque style? -Bz

  3. Mr Boolez, for being a Glass hater, sure loves to stop by! Mr Boolez, please tell me who you like so I can stop by their sites and bash them. Thanks.

  4. @Mr Boo: I would love to attend some Glass Concerts with you. Afterwards, we can sit & have coffee, so that you could bash Mr Glass & I could point out your hypocrisy, lack of open-mindedness, & plain old lack of musical knowledge. BTW: Mr Glass would simply shrug & advise you to go listen to something else.

  5. One thing you can’t accuse Mr Boolez of is a “lack of musical knowledge” – he certainly has the authority to make these criticisms. But instead of reacting emotionally to his opinions, some reasoned debate as a reaction would be more constructive, surely. And on this occasion I think he makes a valid point – of late, Glass seems to be alternating between his particular form of Minimalism on the one hand, and a new-found interest in baroque stylings on the other.

  6. Tezza,
    Your point is well taken. However, theres a long history with Mr. Boolez very ignorantly writing negative reviews of every Glass work on iTunes. All we know of him is that hes an unrepentant serialist and that he lives near New Haven. Probably with his parents.

  7. Tezza, I don’t have time to try to debate someone who hates every note PG writes. I could care less what anybody thinks of PG. Just don’t understand why they can’t follow PG’s famous quote “There’s a lot of music in the world- you don’t have to listen to mine” if they do not care for it. We understand Boolez’s disdain for PG and have seen it time and time again, but he adds nothing new. By the way, PG has long earned the right to write whatever he wants and if he wants to write baroque music, I say more power to him.

  8. If Boolez knew anything about PG music, he would know that this cello concerto is based off the 2002 score for “Naqoyqatsi” which featured a solo cello part throughout the score. So his question was a truly dumb one.

  9. So Tezza, what you’re saying is that Glass is merely doing a cheap transcription of themes from the movie? It sounds as if this is less of a premiere and more of a rehash of older material. If Glass wanted to be truly original, he could have borrowed themes from his soundtrack and recast it in his “new” false baroque style. In this way he could show us that his music could translate into many different styles to better or equal effect. So, why is it that you yourself seem to concede that Glass has run out of ideas? What took you so long to see things my way? -Bz

  10. If Glass has “run out of ideas” because he is “repurposing” previous material then an awful lot of other composers can be accused of the same thing; I was recently listening to the John Adams album ‘Gnarly Buttons/John’s Book of Alleged Dances’ and found the final track, ‘Put Your Loving Arms Around Me’, maddeningly familiar; then I realised it was essentially a “repurposing” of material from ‘Mother of the Man’ (from ‘Naive and Sentimental Music’). I don’t have a problem with this so long as it “works”, both the Adams piece and Glass’ own “repurposed” material (most notably perhaps, the re-orchestration of ‘Unutterable’ from ‘Powaqqatsi’ for the final movement of the ‘Toltec’ Symphony) “work” in their new contexts.
    As to the characterisation of Glass’ ” “new” false baroque style”; if you’re familiar with Glass’ compositional history you might have noticed that, since stripping back his music to “minimalist” rhythmic progressions in the late ’60s/early ’70s, Glass has proceeded to re-introduce conventional musical forms and styles, (interpreted through the prism of his “rhythmic development” language), spanning the history of music from Gregorian Plainsong to Baroque to Classical to Romantic and even early 20th Century idioms (which is perhaps why his latest symphony has been described, by those less familiar with his work, as “minimalist” turned “maximalist”). I like to call Glass’ reinterpretation of existing musical forms as “Glassical” music!
    I remember reading somewhere a quote in which a friend of Glass’ was stopped in the street by him and presented with an early tape recording of the opening of ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ which he listened to while Glass excitedly explained to him that this music was a kind that had both never been heard before and also could have been written at any point in musical history! I’m also reminded of the legend that at the end of the premiere of Brahms’ 4th Symphony young members of the pro-Liszt and Wagner/anti-Brahms ‘New German School’ exited the venue singing loudly (to the opening theme of the symphony’s 1st movement) “Es fiel ihm wieder mal nichts ein” (“Lost for ideas, yet again”), showing that this kind of dogmatic tunnel vision is not really “new” at all. And, 100 years later, who really cares about the fashionably silly factional fighting if the music stands the test of time? Is music only “new” if it ignores the past or reacts against previous styles, or can it be just as “new” by building upon, and extending existing musical forms?

  11. It seems a lot of this discussion, and especially the criticism of Glass, has to do with how new or original or individual the music might be. I find these criteria to be irrelevant. To me, the main purpose of music is to affect listeners, to reach them, please them and even move them. So if Glass’s music doesn’t move you, by all means do as he suggests: listen to something else.

  12. Maxim has it right. The most important thing is that ‘Naqoyqatsi’ is an amazing piece. I would certainly rank it as one of Glass’s best.
    Once again, there is plenty of music in the world. If you don’t like Glass’s music, go listen to something else.

  13. I am surprised that the pro Glass zealots are so thin skinned so as to completely miss the point. My question was not an attack or accusation. All that I asked was whether or not he was going to copy and past excerpts from his previous works rather than taking the time to craft old themes into a new context to fit his current stylistic fetish. Is this too hard of a question to ask? I’m not asking you to do a Shekerian analysis, or have it composed in the more dignified and refined dodecaphony method. And while you’re at it, can someone please ask Glass to stop stalking my reviews? If he didn’t care who listened, he should just drop out and leave the criticisms to us professionals. Thanks. -Bz

  14. Boolez has it right…If Glass would just adopt the dodecaphonic method, his music might have some substance and all the world would be at peace. What a joke.
    First of all, it is I who write reviews on iTunes under the name BoolezSux because firstly I really dislike Boulezs music. Secondly, I find it a sad waste of time for you to write any reviews clearly just listening to samples. You really need to get a life.
    Look, there are hundreds of composers who write 12 tone/serial drivel. They are still doing it today! Like chewing gum that has long lost its flavor. Go listen to any of them please. Surely, there are intelligent audiences out there waiting to be persuaded – though 100 years in not many people seem to be catching on to this aesthetic truth.
    In the meantime, Glass is doing his thing and people seem to like it. I cant imagine spending time on worrying whether people like a composer that I dont.
    And as far as leaving criticisms to professionals like you…I literally cannot fathom what you consider being professional means!
    The irony here is of course that before Juilliard Glass had written 12 tone music whilst he was in Chicago. By the time he got to Juilliard in the late 1950s, he was done with that style. He has respect for that music, more than I do, but he figured why attempt to master something thats already been done and better than he could do. He went and invented his won style, which has also been copied by disciples (repetitive music has far more practitioners and disciples than Serialism).
    He has since been dedicating his time to the evolution and artistic possibilities of that style. Nothing wrong with that! Some people dont like anything he did after Einstein on the Beach. Some think he only started writing listenable music with The Hours in 2002. To each his own.
    The only people who seem to have a problem with that are people who militantly want others to fall in line like dodecaphonic robots and advocate for things like burning opera houses down and destroying history.
    Why is Glass a threat?

  15. C’mon, Mr Boo, you are using insulting & derogatory language, & that’s pretty hard to disguise.
    But what really blows me away, is that you might even entertain the idea that Philip Glass himself is ‘stalking’ your reviews. I’ve been laughing on & off about that all day. You are having delusions of reference. Believe me, he has no idea you even exist. I saw him last night in Chicago, he did not say, ‘Please Fran,
    please help me make Mr Boo go away & stop
    writing bad reviews about my work,’. Reviews
    in general have a low priority for him, & as far
    as your reviews go, you would have to be a
    professional music critic of long standing with
    credentials & background of a substantial
    enough nature to be a regularly contributing
    member of an international news organization
    to be noticed by anyone.
    Your setting yourself up as a ‘professional’, is so laughable, that even the ‘big, impressive’
    words you use, quickly discredit anything you
    would have to say. Your ‘audience’ is a
    handful of people who enjoy listening to
    Glass’s music
    Now Please go listen to something else, & try to impress a different group of people with your ‘professionalism’.

  16. For a so-called “professional”, Mr. Poolez sure does not know much about Glass and he sure asks dumb questions! I’m not thin skinned either. Like I said, I don’t care what anybody thinks of PG. He’s always #1 in my book and that’s the only book that matters to me.

  17. Well, first off Richard, there’s no need to cover for Mr. Glass…that is if you are not actually him yourself! Second in no way am I advocating composing solely in the dodecaphonic tradition. I enjoy all manner of music making so long as it is written and played well. If you had actually looked through my reviews you would know that I don’t always give bad reviews to releases of Glass’work. I just stop short of worshiping everything that he does. And I do listen to everything that I review-not just listening to samples.
    What I don’t understand is the cult like mentality that revolves around a composer because he is only really average at best. Yes, he has composed some fine work before, but much of his output is overrated.
    I do have bonifide credentials as a critic of music and consider myself as such to be a professional critic. Many artists even display my reviews proudly on their website. An enforcement from me is highly coveted in many circles.
    To “Glass Rules”: what stupid questions have I asked about his work? Considering his shift in style, I think it is only fair to ask how he will be treating themes lifted from his older work.
    And to Fran: Please to Glass that I don’t hate him, but he really should stop stalking my reviews and get on with things. There’s really no need for him to do this. -Bz

  18. Mr Boo,…I have had serious discussions with others, particularly on Facebook, where we can give more validity to our status, training, & not just ‘ claim’ to be whatever else you are ‘claiming’ to be. I believe we’re in a flaming contest, which has deteriorated into something not appropriate to the Website. The only one’s participating are you, me, Richard, & Glass Fan. I would stress here one last time, that
    Philip Glass does not know you exist, & doesn’t
    care. he has never paid attention to reviews. He is much more interested in other matters, &
    has plenty on his plate.
    I have some theories regarding people who like Mr Glass’s music, & those that don’t.
    Please let’s stop wasting the Website on this.
    I am totally available to you at
    Anyone feel free to contact me.
    I am trying to take the moral high ground on this, & invite you to do the same.

  19. Mr.Boolez,
    Firstly I assure you I am a real person with a name and social security number-not an anonymous online pseudonym like yourself.
    And your reviews on iTunes which frequently contain egregious grammar and spelling mistakes, make your claim at being a professional highly doubtful.
    Professionals are first and foremost people who make a living from an activity. You do not make a living at musical criticism. Those who do, like Alex Ross of the New Yorker, Tim Page, Anne Midgette of the Washington Times, and others are respectable people with respectable opinions. There are few professional classical music critics and you are not one of them.
    Furthermore your Glass reviews are 95% negative. Hardly level headed journalism.
    As far as the “cult like” mentality you speak of, the visitors of this site are fans, Music lovers. Why rain on their parade when they show enthusiasm and love for something. If Boulez or Carter had enough fans or performances to actually have a forum for fans, I wouldn’t go there just to bash the music and the fans.
    Every major composer has good pieces and bad pieces. I don’t think anyone here is saying every piece Glass has written is gold. But his great pieces are great and poetic. And all is fans look forward to his new works.
    And finally, as someone who actually works and makes a living in music, it’s accurate to say what matters is what music people listen to, the concerts they go to. Not any ideology. I’m in Los Angeles this week attending very real concerts which people will enjoy-much to the dismay of ideologue curmudgeons.

  20. Fran,
    Oddly enough I half agree with you. I was just asking a question and have been the victim of an attack, not the least by Glass himself under the pseudonym Richard Guerin. I would love to discuss music with you more through electronic e-mail as well. Please feel free to contact me at I believe that our exchange may be beneficial to the both of us over time may we talk about music, art, religion, or the meaning of life in general. Thank you for extending to me an olive branch. I look forward to hearing from you. -Bz
    PS. Phillip, yes I know that you work in the music field, but could you please just publish your blog and reviews under your real name? Thanks!

  21. Mr Poolez, I can assure you that Richard Guerin and PG are not the same guy. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting PG many times over the years, and met Richard when I recently traveled to NYC for the Tune In Festival. I sat next to Richard during the performance of Another Look at Harmony while PG sat two rows in front of us. PG is way too busy to read these comments.

Leave a Reply