glass notes
Songs and Poems on

Justin Davidson, the Pulitzer-Prize winning critic, who is manning New Yorker critic’s blog, , discusses "Songs and Poems":
For reasons I can’t quite articulate, Philip Glass tops the list of
composers whose music friends and colleagues keep telling me I really
ought to love but that, in fact, I don’t. (The rest of the list is
confidential, and I will neither confirm nor deny that Bruckner’s name
appears anywhere on it.) However, I have become smitten with one
freshly blown Glass recording: Songs and Poems for solo cello, played by Wendy Sutter.
Instead of the richly layered thrumming of his orchestral pieces, which
often put me in mind of a showroom full of idling Jaguars, Glass has
pared his patterns down so that they sound intensely personal. Glass
and Sutter reportedly fell in love over this score, and it does have a
romantically melancholy tone. It’s not a conversation, though, but a
soliloquy, that most unsociable of forms. Sutter has a big sound, which
makes her cello seem that much more solitary–a filament of expression;
a lone, repeating rune. The CD includes Tissues, for cello,
percussion, and piano, from 2002, which is chamber music of a
particularly stark and lonely, though eerily beautiful kind. The
patterns seem like stutters here: the cello keeps trying to formulate a
complete thought–to connect with instruments that either keep their
distance by moving along in parallel motion or shimmer in a floating
harmonic halo.

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