The Hours
Music by Philip Glass
For the film by Stephen Daldry
Michael Riesman, piano
The Lyric Quartet
Nick Ingman, conductor


Nonesuch 79693-2


1 The Poet Acts 3:40
2 Morning Passages 5:30
3 Something She Has to Do 3:09
4 “For Your Own Benefit” 2:00
5 Vanessa and the Changelings 1:45
6 “I’m Going to Make a Cake” 4:01
7 An Unwelcome Friend 4:08
8 Dead Things 4:21
9 The Kiss 3:54
10 “Why Does Someone Have to Die?” 3:53
11 Tearing Herself Away 5:00
12 Escape! 3:48
13 Choosing Life 3:58
14 The Hours 7:44


The shortest and simplest answer I’ve ever been able to offer when asked why I write novels is, because I can’t sing, play an instrument, or compose sonatas. I mean no disrespect to literature if I say that, should an extraterrestrial suddenly appear before me and ask to know something essential about the people of earth as expressed through their art, my first thought would be of Bach rather than Tolstoy.

Writing, even great writing, is inevitably to some degree a local concern, in a way that music simply isn’t. Our novels may not be read in Alpha Centauri, but it seems possible that some of our music will be played. Being in love with music but possessing no talent for producing it, I try to compensate by listening to music almost every morning before I start to write, to keep reminding myself that language on the page can be almost as rhythmic and penetrating as the work of Schubert, Van Morrison, or Philip Glass.

Each novel I’ve written has developed a soundtrack of sorts; a body of music that subtly but palpably helped shape the book in question. I don’t imagine most people who’ve read any of my books could readily see their connections to particular pieces of music, but I have long been aware that A Home at the End of the World evolved, in part, from Laurie Anderson’s Big Science, Joni Mitchell’s Blue, and the Mozart’s Requiem; that Flesh and Blood derived from the operas of Verdi, Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush, several albums by The Smiths, and Jeff Buckley’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah; and The Hours from Schubert (particularly Death and the Maiden), Brian Eno’s Music for Airports, Peter Gabriel’s Mercy Street, and, for reasons I can’t begin to explain, Radiohead’s OK Computer. The one constant since I started trying to write novels, however — my only ongoing act of listening fidelity— has been the work of Philip Glass.

I love Glass’s music almost as much as I love Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, and for some of the same reasons. Glass, like Woolf, is more interested in that which continues than he is in that which begins, climaxes, and ends; he insists, as did Woolf, that beauty often resides more squarely in the present than it does in the present’s relationship to past or future. Glass and Woolf have both broken out of the traditional realm of the story, whether literary or musical, in favor of something more meditative, less neatly delineated, and more true to life. For me, Glass can find in three repeated notes something of the strange rapture of sameness that Woolf discovered in a woman named Clarissa Dalloway doing errands on an ordinary summer morning. We are creatures who repeat ourselves, we humans, and if we refuse to embrace repetition — if we balk at art that seeks to praise its textures and rhythms, its endless subtle variations— we ignore much of what we mean by life itself.

I first listened to Philip Glass in college in the early seventies, when I bought a copy of Einstein on the Beach after hearing an excerpt on the radio. I played it over and over until my roommate threatened violence, after which I procured a set of headphones. I played it for anyone who could be persuaded to listen, and in so doing began to understand that I was a strange creature who, like most strange creatures, believed himself to be the norm. Many of those I lured into my dormitory room began to fidget after ten or fifteen minutes worth of Einstein on the Beach, and the few who did not — the ones who loved it as I did— tended to be some of the more eccentric local specimens, the wild and lonely ones, the obsession-prone. It was an experience I would find repeated as I pressed copies of Mrs. Dalloway onto people, who were often as baffled by it as I was, in turn, baffled by their bafflement.

The last thirty years have served to move Glass in from the margins, just as time has moved Woolf from aberration to mainstay of world literature. I have been reading Woolf and listening to Glass most of my adult life, and have never tired of either of them. I still listen sometimes to Glass’s music, often first thing in the morning, before I start my writing day. His music is, to some degree, part of everything I’ve written.

So, when I heard he’d agreed to contribute the music to the film version of The Hours, it seemed both inevitable and too good to be true. I’m not sure if I can offer any higher praise than this: When I saw the movie with the music added, I thought automatically of how I could use the soundtrack, when it came out, to help me finish my next book.

— Michael Cunningham
© 2002 by Michael Cunningham. By arrangement with Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents, Inc. All rights reserved.


Music from the Motion Picture Composed by Philip Glass. Performed by Michael Riesman, piano with the Lyric Quartet: Rolf Wilson, Edmund Coxon, violins; Nicholas Barr, viola; David Daniels, cello; and with Chris Laurence, double bass. Orchestra conducted by Nick Ingman.

Music Produced by Kurt Munkacsi and Michael Riesman. Executive Producer for Dunvagen Music: Jim Keller. Album Executive Producer: Scott Rudin.
Recorded at Abbey Road Studios and Air Studios, London. Engineer: Jonathan Allen. Assistant Engineers: Andrew Dudman and Jake Jackson. Mixed at the Looking Glass Studios, New York City. Engineer: Hector Castillo. Assistant Engineers: Dan Bora and Mario McNulty. Studio Assistant: Christian Rutledge.

Assistant to Mr. Glass and Mr. Riesman: Nico Muhly. Soundtrack album post-production coordinator: Kara Bilof. Orchestra Contractor: Isobel Griffiths. Orchestra Leader: John Bradbury. Music Editor: Tony Lewis. Music Preparation: Global Music Services.

Design by Evan Gaffney Design. For Nonesuch Records: Editorial Coordinator: Gregg Schaufeld. Production Supervisor: Karina Beznicki.

Philip Glass extends thanks to Scott Rudin, Stephen Daldry, Tony Lewis, Mario McNulty, Tim O’Donnell, Cat Celebrezze, Rachel Grundfast, Bernard Dikman, Annie Ohayon, Jason Fox, Linda Greenberg, Alisa Regas, Jim Woodard, Orit Greenberg, Kaleb Kilkenny, David Bither, Bob Hurwitz, Peter Clancy, Karina Beznicki, Melanie Zessos, Isobel Griffiths, Edwin Santana, Scan McCaul, Josh Grier, Michael Alden and The Gang at Avenue L & 8th Street.

Music published by Famous Music Corporation (ASCAP), except the following, published by Dunvagen Music Publishers, Inc.: the first section of track 6, “‘I’m Going to Make a Cake,’” based on the theme from “Protest” (Act II, Scene 3) from the opera Satyagraha; track 11, “Tearing Herself Away,” based on “Islands” from the album Glassworks (not contained in the motion picture); and track 12, “Escape,” based on “Metamorphosis Two” from the album Solo Piano.

Philip Glass is managed and published by Dunvagen Music Publishers, Inc.

David Arch plays piano in the motion picture soundtrack.

Motion Picture Artwork, Photos, TM by Paramount Pictures. Copyright © 2002 by Paramount Pictures and Miramax Film Corp.

© 2002 Nonesuch Records for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.