Philip on Film
Filmworks by Philip Glass
Music by Philip Glass


Nonesuch 79660-2


1. Koyaanisqatsi 3:28
2. Organic 7:43
3. Cloudscape 4:34
4. Resource 6:39
5. Vessels 8:05
6. Pruit Igoe 7:53
7. The Grid 21:23
8. Prophecies 13:36

1. Serra Pelada 5:02
2. The Title 0:23
3. Anthem-Part 1 6:22
4. That Place 4:41
5. Anthem-Part 2 3:48
6. Mosque and Temple 4:42
7. Anthem-Part 3 8:11
8. Train to Sao Paulo 3:04
9. Video Dream 2:14
10. New Cities in Ancient Lands, China 2:47
11. New Cities in Ancient Lands, Africa 2:56
12. New Cities in Ancient Lands, India 4:42
13. The Unutterable 7:02
14. Caught! 7:20
15. Mr. Suso #1 1:08
16. From Egypt 3:23
17. Mr. Suso #2 with Reflection 1:18
18. Powaqqatsi 4:35

1. Dracula 1:15
2. Journey to the Inn 0:43
3. The Inn 3:24
4. The Crypt 1:17
5. Carriage Without a Driver 2:13
6. The Castle 3:12
7. The Drawing Room 1:08
8. “Excellent, Mr. Renfield” 2:48
9. The Three Consorts of Dracula 1:30
10. The Storm 1:34
11. Horrible Tragedy 1:22
12. London Fog 1:17
13. In the Theatre 2:50
14. Lucy’s Bitten 2:23
15. Seward Sanatorium 2:57
16. Rentield 2:56
17. In His Cell 1:31
18. When the Dream Comes 2:09
19. Dracula Enters 4:01
20. Or a Wolf 4:40
21. Women in White 3:12
22. Renfield in the Drawing Room 3:26
23. Dr. Van Helsing and Dracula 2:22
24. Mina on the Terrace 4:41
25. Mina’s Bedroom / The Abbey 3:52
26. The End of Dracula 4:06

DISC FOUR: Selections from LA BELLE ET LA BêTE
1. Ouverture 3:31
2. Les Soeurs 3:11
3. La Demande en Mariage d’Avenant 3:35
4. Le Voyage du Père 4:28
5. Le Domaine de la Bête 5:13
6. Le Retour du Père 2:17
7. La Belle va au Château 5:21
8. Le Dîner 3:32
9. Les Tourments de la Bête 3:48
10. Promenade dans le Jardin 9:06
11. La Saisie des Meubles 1:31
12. La Confiance de la Bête en la Belle 4:33
13. Belle Retourne Chez son Père 1:56
14. Belle Raconte son Histoire 3:52
15. Le Plan 3:32
16. La Passion d’Avenant 2:38
17. Le Magnifique Apparaît 3:08
18. Le Miroir 4:01
19. Le Pavillon 3:43
20. La Mètamorphose 4:14

1. The Beginning 4:10
2. Perpetual Motion 5:34
3. The Witness 4:13
4. Sand Mandala 4:04
5. Projector 2:06
6. Escape to India 10:08
7. Mishima/Opening 2:48
8. Osamu’s Theme: Kyoko’s House 3:01
9. November 25: Ichigaya 2:16
10. Mishima/Closing 3:00
11. Secret Agent 4:49
12. The First Meridian 3:19
13. Trust 3:45
14. End Credits 3:58
From the PETER GREENAWAY Film (previously unreleased)
15. The Man in the Bath 7:02
From the GODFREY REGGIO Film EVIDENCE (previously unreleased)
16. Façades 4:08
From the ATOM EGOYAN Film (previously unreleased)
17. Diaspora 7:47


This compilation mostly consists of previously released material.


With the clouds in Koyaanisqatsi, I decided to use a fairly analogous or allegorical musical image to go with the clouds. I picked large, slow-moving clusters of brass that became… an allegorical visualization of what’s on the screen… It’s not really important that clouds sound like brass… but rather that… the use of the brass [can become] a convincing artistic decision.
— Philip Glass

Not only did I go to the shooting, but I took the music to the shooting. For example, the Serra Palada mines in Brazil, which is the opening sequence of Powaqqatsi: it’s been documented, footage and photographs existed, so I knew what it looked like… I wrote a ten-minute piece based on the Serra Palada mines of what I’d seen… the cinematographer was actually listening to the music while he was shooting the scene.
— Philip Glass

I didn’t write a spooky, modernistic film score, nor did I write an experimental film score with lots of electronics. What we are invited to see is the film made in 1931… Hence the string-quartet format, as the film mostly takes place in drawing rooms and gardens: that’s the kind of music that would be going on there… [T]he string quartet offers a very wide palette… from Haydn into Elliott Carter anything in that medium is available.
— Philip Glass

Soon we became aware that the film characters have a parallel character the singer on stage. There are incredibly moving moments during the performance when the Beauty onstage looks up at the Beauty on the screen. Or, when the Beast on the screen is dying, we see the Beast onstage actually singing his last words. At these moments we may realize that this is no longer just a film, but an entirely new kind of music/theater. The counterpoint between the screen image and the stage performer is at the heart of the event, and it is because of this that it can deliver such a powerful emotional message.
— Philip Glass

Normally music is added to a film after the film is completed. With Kundun things were different. I began composing the music at the very beginning sending work tapes to Scorsese while he was still on location in Morocco shooting the film. This way, when he returned to New York to begin the process of editing the film with Thelma Schoonmaker, they could cut the film with the actual music composed for each scene. I believe this process is the key to making music an organic part of a film. In fact I would go as far as to say that is the only way it can happen.
— Philip Glass

Composing music for a “moving image” has been a major part of my life as a musician since the early ’60s, when, still a student at The Juilliard School, I began making incidental music for small theater productions around New York City. For me, theater, dance, opera, and film are all mediums that combine the elements of text, movement, image, and music blending them into one artistic experience. These four elements are like the alchemical elements earth, air, fire, and water and in their own way serve as the basic components present in all the performing arts. Though I came to film scoring as a fairly mature composer in my forties, I had several decades of experience with the combination of music and moving image and already felt well prepared for the medium of film.

During the ’80s I grew more knowledgeable about film productions through working with directors Godfrey Reggio, Paul Schrader, and Errol Morris. During this period I also became increasingly aware of the essential difference between film and the other performing arts. Simply put, in dance, theater, and opera, continual reinterpretation is at the heart of the experience for both the performer and the spectator. By contrast, a film presents a definitive interpretation, which, once the film is completed, can never change. Of course, that is the special quality of film, and it gives film audiences its own (faithfully repeatable) experience.

In the early ’80s I began experimenting with the idea of reintroducing interpretation into the presentation of film. At the heart of this effort has been the use of “live” music performance with film. Most of the music in this boxed set was developed for this kind of performance presentation. These were quite often truly experiments — combining live music performance with image alone (as in Koyaanisqatsi), opera (La Belle et la Bête), and melodrama (Dracula). Sometimes the performers were in front of the screen, sometimes (though still visible) behind. In every case, the synchronization of music and image was entrusted to music director/conductor Michael Riesman, who worked through visual cues only, never using a “click track” or any other mechanical device.

This last point is a most important one, since it unmistakably conveys to the audience that this is above all else an experience that happens in “real time” not in the fabricated time of an ordinary film experience. To my mind, this is the reason why both the performer and audience so enjoy the heightened emotional impact of this “live” film event.

Of course, film music without film is very much like opera without the stage: clearly, when one element is separated out, the complete experience is not available. However, we have all learned that focusing on the music alone has its own rewards and pleasures. I hope that the music selected for this collection will be enjoyed in just that way.

Traditionally, film scores are made up, more often than not, of short cues lasting an average of two to three minutes. Film composers, many of whom still work within the various styles of “classical” music, generally have an almost impossibly short time both to create musical meaning and to generate the strong emotional impact that film narrative, particularly Hollywood narrative, requires of its composers. Much of the work of Philip Glass, who was strongly influenced early in his career by non-Western music, moves in exactly the opposite direction. Where the standard film score depends on brevity, Glass’ music often unfolds over extended timescapes. Across these expanses are brief cells, shaped out of some of the most elemental rhythmic and harmonic devices of Western music, which undergo, as they constantly repeat, subtle transformations that seem to carry the notes far from their point of departure while never really leaving it. And where the standard film score frequently aims at almost instantaneous affect, affect in Philip Glass’ scores results from the listener settling, seemingly outside of time, into almost imperceptible changes that ultimately lead toward a sense of metamorphosis. Yet, for almost the last 20 years, Glass’ music has made increasing inroads into the cinema, starting with such off-the-beaten-path films as Koyaanisqatsi (1983) and Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985), but of late turning up in more mainstream films, such as The Secret Agent (1996), Kundun (1997), and The Truman Show (1998), in which the composer makes a brief appearance (at the keyboard).

Some of Glass’ earliest film efforts appear in movies in which slowly evolving images seem in many ways the exact visual equivalent of his musical style. The earliest of these is the cult film Koyaanisqatsi, directed, co-written, and co-produced by Godfrey Reggio, who was born in 1940 and spent many of his early adult years as a Christian Brothers monk. Perhaps best described as a lyrical documentary, Koyaanisqatsi (the title is a Hopi Indian word suggesting something to the effect of “life out of balance”) largely but not entirely dispenses with both voice and soundtrack, instead presenting a series of balletic tableaux, starting in nature and ending in what we call civilization. Much of the movie’s visual power comes from Reggio’s use of repeated patterns of movement, often enhanced by time-lapse photography or slow motion fast-moving clouds look like flowing water, slow-motion waterfalls look like clouds… The nonstop and often hypnotic music opens and closes with the haunting strains of a bass voice over a solo organ playing a repeated figure, intoning the film’s title word. While much of the same visual-musical lyricism returns for the 1988 Powaqqatsi, the second panel of a trilogy that will conclude with the upcoming Naqoyqatsi, the subject becomes decidedly more human, with Reggio taking his camera to Nepal, Africa, Brazil, Peru, China, and India to show third-world countries coping with “progress,” with results implied by the film’s title, which suggests “an entity, a way of life, that consumes the life forces of other beings in order to further its own life.” (The final title, Naqoyqatsi, suggests war as sanctioned aggression against the force of life.) While the music reveals the unmistakable Glass style, the composer, in something of a departure from his normal habits, incorporated elements of “world music” into his score, adding to his usual instrumental ensemble the Hispanic Young People’s Chorus and various indigenous instruments, along with native rhythmic patterns.

But Glass has also been involved in some novel experiments in which he has redefined the film-music interaction by returning to old films and transforming them, via his music, into new works of art. In 1994 Glass an active opera composer whose 1976 Einstein on the Beach is considered by many to be a 20th-century milestone took French director Jean Cocteau’s 1946 La Belle et la Bête (Beauty and the Beast), a gloriously fanciful film version of the famous fairy tale, and turned it into a cine-opera, removing the voice, sound, and music tracks from the film and replacing them with his own music. While the story has many dramatic moments, Glass’ nonstop music, with vocal lines that closely follow the contours of the French language, evolves at its own slowly unfolding pace, in many instances almost working against the narrative movement.

In 1999 Glass turned to Tod Browning’s pioneering Dracula from 1931, a film that, because of the lack of post-synch standards at this early point in the sound era, has little music. Glass’ score for Dracula, laid down on the nearly nonexistent music track, runs, typically, almost nonstop, but, atypically, is scored only for string quartet. Here again, the music, rather than punctuating the film’s high drama, seems to provide a broad field of sound that the charged action plays against in a unique narrative-musical counterpoint.

The fifth disc in this set offers a sampling of Glass’ music for a broad spectrum of films, none of them wholly conventional. In the 30-minute Anima Mundi from 1991, Godfrey Reggio and Glass, in their third collaboration, turn the animal world, from microorganisms to the largest of creatures, into a flowing ballet. In Errol Morris’ chilling documentary The Thin Blue Line (1988), which deals with a man sent to Texas’ death row for a murder he did not commit, certain elemental objects and various events return obsessively to the screen in patterns remarkably mirrored in Glass’ score.

One suspects that it was that certain Eastern quality in Glass’ music that led mainstream director Martin Scorsese to engage the composer’s talents for his nonmainstream Kundun (1997), a docudrama that follows the life of the Dalai Lama from the age of two until his exile from Tibet. Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985) is another docudrama about the East; this one, directed by Paul Schrader, creates parallels between the life and work of Japanese novelist Yukio Mishima, who committed hara-kiri at an army garrison in 1970.

Playwright Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liaisons) wrote and directed The Secret Agent (1996), an extremely dark, relentlessly bleak adaptation of the Joseph Conrad novel about an act of anarchist terrorism that goes awry. Making frequent use of a mournful English horn and Bach-like figures from a solo cello, Glass’ score for The Secret Agent is one of his most lyrical and atmospheric.

Glass composed the music for the two of the last three selections on this release for 11-minute silent films (with scores performed live by The Philip Glass Ensemble) that he commissioned from four decidedly independent directors, two of which are represented here: Peter Greenaway, who made an offbeat but probing documentary about Glass in 1983, and Armenian-Canadian director Atom Egoyan, whose explorations on the dark side of the erotic have produced such films as Felicia’s Journey (1999), The Sweet Hereafter (1997), and Exotica (1994). Interspersed between these is “Façades,” which was originally written for and gained its name from a section of Koyaanisqatsi consisting of various shots of building fronts in Manhattan’s Wall Street district. While that part of the film was cut, the movement found its way into the piece Glassworks and was featured in a later work by Reggio, a short film titled Evidence (1995), about the effects of television on children.

— Royal Brown


All Music by Philip Glass.

Boxed Set Produced & Edited for Release by Kurt Munkacsi & Michael Riesman. Executive Producer: Robert Hurwitz.

A&R Supervision: Shawn Amos & Karina Beznicki. Editorial Coordination: Gregg Schaufeld. Editorial Research: Daniel Goldmark. Art Direction: Hugh Brown. Design: Lawrence Azerrad. Front Cover Photograph © Annie Leibovitz. All Other Photography: Michael Wilson.

Project Assistance: Wendi Cartwright, Randy Perry, Amy Utstein, Steve Utstein, Gary Peterson, Lori Carfora, Julee Stover. Special Thanks: Linda Greenberg-brumbach, Alisa Regas, Ramona Kirschenman, Annie Leibovitz, Michael Fisher, Anthology Film Archive, Jonas Mekas, Shannon Mclachlan, Wendy Dorsett, John Mhiripiri.

Disc One from the Koyaanisqatsi, Nonesuch #79506 (10/27/98). Produced by Kurt Munkacsi. Conducted by Michael Riesman. Performed by Albert Deruiter (Bass Vocal), The Western Wind Vocal Ensemble & Members of The Philip Glass Ensemble (& Various) Recorded & Mixed At The Looking Glass Studios, New York, NY. Engineered By Martin Czembor.

Disc Two from the Album Powaqqatsi, Elektra/Nonesuch #79192 (4/19/88). Produced by Kurt Munkacsi. Conducted by Michael Riesman. Performed by Foday Musa Suso, Shaikh Fathy Mady, Albert Deruiter, Joe Passaro, Sue Evans, Roger Squitero, Valerie Naranjo, The Hispanic Young People’S Chorus/Coro Juvenil Hispano (& Various). Lyrics for Children’S Choir by Bernardo Palumbo. Recorded & Mixed At The Living Room, New York, NY. Engineered by Don Christensen.

Disc Three from the Album Dracula, Nonesuch #79542 (8/31/99). Produced by Judith Sherman, Michael Riesman & Kurt Munkacsi. Performed by Kronos Quartet. Recorded at Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, CA. Engineered by Bob Levy.

Disc Four from the Album La Belle et la Bête, Nonesuch #79347 (4/18/95). Produced by Kurt Munkacsi. Conducted by Michael Riesman. Performed by Janice Felty (Beauty), Gregory Purnhagen (the Beast, the Port Official, Avenant & Ardent), John Kuether (the Father & the Usurer), Ana Maria Martinez (Félicie), Hallie Neill (Adélaïde), Zheng Zhou (Ludovic), the Philip Glass Ensemble (& Various). Recorded & Mixed at the Looking Glass Studios, New York, NY. Engineered by Anne Pope & Rich Costey. Mixed by Michael Riesman.

Disc Five
Tracks 1-3 from the Album Anima Mundi, Elektra/Nonesuch #79329 (10/26/93). Produced by Kurt Munkacsi. Conducted by Michael Riesman. Recorded & Mixed At The Looking Glass Studios, New York, NY. Engineered by Laura Fried. Mixed by Michael Riesman.

Tracks 4-6 from the Album Kundun, Nonesuch #79460 (11/25/97). Produced by Kurt Munkacsi. Conducted by Michael Riesman. Performed by Gyuto Monks, Monks Of The Drukpa Order (& Various). Recorded at the Looking Glass Studios, New York, NY. Engineered by Martin Czembor.

Tracks 7-10 from the Album Mishima, Nonesuch #79113 (12/11/85). Produced by Kurt Munkacsi. Conducted by Michael Riesman. String Quartets Performed by Kronos Quartet. Recorded at Greene St. Studios, New York, NY & The Living Room, New York, NY. Engineered by Dan Dryden. Mixed by Dan Dryden, Kurt Munkacsi & Michael Riesman.

Tracks 11-13 from the Album The Secret Agent, Nonesuch #79442 (12/3/96). Produced by Kurt Munkacsi. Conducted by Michael Riesman. Chamber Orchestra Conducted by Harry Rabinowitz. Performed by The English Chamber Orchestra (& Various). Recorded At Whitfield Street Studios, London, England. Engineered by Mike Ross. Additional Recording & Mixed at The Looking Glass Studios, New York, NY. Engineered by Mark Plati & Michael Riesman.

Track 14 from the Album The Thin Blue Line, Elektra/Nonesuch #79209 (4/18/89). Produced by Kurt Munkacsi. Conducted by Michael Riesman. Recorded & Mixed At The Living Room, New York, NY. Engineered by Miles Green.

Track 15 from the Peter Greenaway film The Man in The Bath (previously unreleased). Recording Produced by Kurt Munkacsi. Conducted by Michael Riesman. Performed by The Philip Glass Ensemble: Jon Gibson (Soprano Saxophone), Richard Peck (Alto & Tenor Saxophones), Michael Riesman (Keyboards), Andrew Sterman (Flute, Piccolo); & Guests: Marie Mascari (Soprano), Mary Nessinger (Mezzo-soprano), Peter Stewart (Baritone), Frank Cassara (Percussion), Gordon Gottlieb (Percussion), Jim Pugh (Trombone), Alan Raph (Bass Trombone). Recorded & Mixed At The Looking Glass Studios, New York, NY (5/01). Engineered by Hector Castillo. Assisted by Christian Rutledge. Production Supervision: Kara Bilof. Production Assistance: Max Giteck Duykers & Nico Mulhy.

Track 16 from The Godfrey Reggio film Evidence (previously unreleased recording). Recording Produced by Kurt Munkacsi. Conducted by Michael Riesman. Performed by Jack Kripl (Soprano Sax), Michael Riesman (Keyboards). Recorded & Mixed at The Living Room Studio, New York, NY (1984). Engineered by Dan Dryden.

Track 17 from the Atom Egoyan Film Diaspora (previously unreleased). Recording Produced by Kurt Munkacsi. Conducted by Michael Riesman. Performed by The Philip Glass Ensemble: Jon Gibson (Soprano Saxophone), Richard Peck (Alto & Tenor Saxophones), Michael Riesman (Keyboards), Andrew Sterman (Flute, Piccolo); & Guests: Marie Mascari (Soprano), Alexandra Montano (Mezzo-soprano), Peter Stewart (Baritone), Gordon Gottlieb (Percussion). Recorded & Mixed at The Looking Glass Studios, New York, Ny (5/01). Engineered by Hector Castillo. Assisted by Christian Rutledge. Production Supervision: Kara Bilof. Production Assistance: Max Giteck Duykers & Nico Mulhy.

Philip Glass Quotation Sources from Previously Published Material:

Disc One: Berg, Charles Merrell, “Philip Glass on Composing for Films and Other Forms: The Case of Koyaanisqatsi (1990) ” in Writings on Glass: Essays, Interviews, Criticism by Richard Kostelanetz (Editor) and Robert Flemming (Asst. Editor), Schirmer Books, NY, 1997.

Disc Two: Morgan, David, “Life in Transformation: Philip Glass on Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi” in Knowing The Score: Film Composers Talk About the Art, Craft, Blood, Sweat, and Tears of Writing for Cinema by David Morgan (Editor), Harper Entertainment, NY, 2000.

Disc Three: “Getting an (After) Life: Philip Glass Gives The Classic Film Dracula a New Lease on Life With His Score,”, April 25, 2001.

Philip Glass Management & Publishing: Dunvagen Music Publishers, New York City (ASCAP). Executive Director: Jim Keller. Associate Director: Ramona Kirschenman. Administrative Assistant: Rachel Grundfast. © 2001 Nonesuch Records & Rhino Entertainment Company.


Conceived by Pomegranate Arts. Director: Linda Greenberg-brumbach. Associate Director: Alisa E. Regas. With Orit Greenberg, Kaleb Kilkenny, Doug Witney & Jim Woodard. Produced by Pomegranate Arts.

Special Thanks To Our Colleagues and Friends who Lent their Support and Vision to the Development of Philip on Film. Including: Rachel Chanoff & Laurie Cearley; Bernard Dikman; Dan Dryden; Atom Egoyan; Peter Greenaway; Elia & Frances Kazan; Shirin Neshat; Timothy O’Donnell; Annie Ohayon; Godfrey Reggio; Michal Rovner; Lawrence Taub; The Philip Glass Ensemble; The Remarkable Staff At Nonesuch Records; Universal Family And Home Entertainment; Michael Blachly/The University Of Florida; Kristy Edmunds & Leslie Durst/Portland Institute For Contemporary Art; Ken Fischer & Michael Kondziolka/University Musical Society; Karen Brooks Hopkins & Joseph Melillo/Brooklyn Academy Of Music; Josh La Belle/Seattle Theatre Group; Nigel Redden & Laura Aswad/Lincoln Center Festival; David Sefton/Ucla Performing Arts; Robert Van Leer/Barbican Centre; Pebbles Wadsworth & Neil Barclay/The University Of Texas.



Anima Mundi
La Belle et la Bête
Short Films
String Quartet No. 3 (Mishima)
The Secret Agent
The Thin Blue Line

Anima Mundi on Nonesuch
La Belle et la Bête on Nonesuch
The Thin Blue Line on Nonesuch
Dracula on Nonesuch
Koyaanisqatsi on Nonesuch
Kundun on Nonesuch
Mishima on Nonesuch
Powaqqatsi on Nonesuch
The Secret Agent on Nonesuch
The Secret Agent on OMM

Anima Mundi by Godfrey Reggio
Dracula by Tod Browning
Koyaanisqatsi by Godfrey Reggio
Kundun by Martin Scorsese
Mishima by Paul Schrader
Powaqqatsi by Godfrey Reggio
The Secret Agent by Christopher Hampton
The Thin Blue Line by Errol Morris
La Belle et la B�te by Jean Cocteau