Two disc set of Philip Glass' two symphonies based on themes by David Bowie and Brian Eno. With some exceptions, I find it difficult to recognize the source material, even after reading the titles and revisiting those two albums. Not recommended for fans of Bowie and Eno, but rather for fans of Glass. The works are examples of minimalism, but have been largely ignored for years although there have been a number of "tribute" performances this year following Bowie's death in January.
Symphony No. 4 "Heroes" (1996)
Dennis Russell Davies and Michael Riesman conducting the American Composers Orchestra
The symphony is in 6 movements:
- Heroes (5:53)
- Abdulmajid (8:53)
- Sense of Doubt (7:20)
- Sons of the Silent Age (8:18)
- Neuköln (6:41)
- V2 Schneider (6:48)
Symphony No. 1 "Low" (1992)
Dennis Russell Davies conducting the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra
Overall, a much better work than "Heroes" symphony, mainly because it is more lyrical and there are parts where you'd be hard pressed to determine that it is the work of Glass. The symphony is in 3 movements:
- Subterraneans (15:11)
- Some Are (11:20)
- Warszawa (16:01)
The first movement is gorgeous and the best thing on either disc, the second is a fun romp, and the third sounds delightfully like the soundtrack to a Cold War spy thriller (and the movement where it is easiest to identify the source material). This second disc will get more play than the first.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: Purchased earlier this year after Bowie's death because it just seemed like the right thing to do.
Previously revisited for the blog:
Kronos Quartet Performs Philip Glass (1995)