Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Philip Glass - Akhnaten

Every weekday morning, on my twenty-minute commute to work,I tune in to my local public radio station WFCR out of Amherst, Massachusetts to listen to the news program All Things Considered. At the end of my day, when I get back in my car to go home, I often switch from that station's classical music program to WRSI, a good adult alternative music station. It plays a good blend of many popular genres and I find the mix pleasing and relaxing. Sometimes I turn it up really loud when I really like a song that's meant to be listened to at high volume. Perhaps loud isn't relaxing, exactly, but it is certainly cathartic. To me, anyway.

Today was an exception. When my car radio came on, I was immediately drawn in to a piece of music I wanted to stay connected to. I was glad that when it was over (which I did not want it to be), the announcer cited the name of the artist and the work:  a Phillip Glass opera - Akhnaten HQ [Prelude; Refrain, Verse 1, Verse 2]. It is an opera in three acts based on the life and religious convictions of the pharoah Akhenaten.

 Glass has composed two other biographical operas. Einstein on the Beach and Satyagraha based on the life of Ghandi. Both of these have been added to my list of music purchases, along with Akhnaten. I've begun to listen to bits and pieces of all three operas on youtube but there is nothing like the continuity of a whole musical piece, especially when it applies to the musical story that an opera tries to tell.

I have, of course, heard Philip Glass before. My only other interest in opera has been Tommy by The Who and Jesus Christ Superstar, so I'm really digging this discovery as a form of expansion of my musical interests.

In reading a bit about Glass, I found a list of his friends and collaborators of whom I am also a fan; among them,  the writer Doris Lessing, visual artist Richard Serra and film director Martin Scorsese. Glass is in very brilliant and creative company, indeed!

 I've not been excited or energized by much that fits the format of the blog lately. Which isn't to say that I haven't been doing and experiencing things I enjoy. Making a musical discovery that is outside of the box (albeit a rather large and eclectically filled one) is for me, kind of exciting and I wanted to share it with you.

The clip is over ten minutes long but I hope you are able to listen to at least a little bit of it and tell me what you think. Perhaps you are a Philip Glass fan and can add something further to the little I have garnered so far about his work.

Peace and love,


  1. this guy is the king of subject matter. Koyanascazi anyone?

    Warm Aloha from Honolulu;

    Comfort Spiral

    > < } } ( ° >


  2. I want to rush out and buy it. it's like nothing I've ever heard, and I love the energy of it. thanks for sharing Gina. happy week to you.

  3. hi...gina, i have not used the embedded form in a long time and know you can now comment...if not, let me know but nobody is having problems[blogger was all messed up for a few days i guess...again--i tried disqus, neat in the threading replies but otherwise, no...

    anyway, i have no bandwidth left to listen but i will in a few days...it was good to connect a bit today on FB although i am going off it......i do hope my favorite bloggers like you don't go to FB/twit/tumblir, etc....i would miss them as i do really miss you..

    akhnaten was just featured on a pbs special on SF channel as the first mono-diety seeking pharoah, very out of the box for an egyptian pharoah...it was fascinating.

    be well, my friend. xoxoxoxox

  4. I've enjoyed listening to Philip Glass since he worked with David Bowie on Heroes many years ago. His commitment to collaborating with other great artists like Brian Eno, David Byrne, Laurie Anderson, and Leonard Cohen kind of kept him as a regular in a lot of the music we've listened to and loved over the years. Koyaanisqatsi was and still is utterly mesmerizing both visually and musically.

  5. I enjoyed the writing but do not have the sound fully working yet. One thing at a time! Glad to see you and read about your daily life.

  6. Cloudia - You're funny! PG is sort of the Ken Burns of musical composition!

    Becky - you are always so positive! sending a hug!

    Jams - :-)

    Susan - I'm obviously late in discovering Philip Glass. Perhaps a DVD of a performance would be more enthralling.

    Ginger - my daily life; of no consequence to anyone, really. But I'd like to keep the blog going somehow. Thanks for the support and friendship!

  7. Incredibly powerful and moving. I was mesmerised. Thank you for sharing, once again.

  8. That is very interesting. Thanks, Gina.

  9. Hi Sandy!

    A correction, though I think everyone knew what I meant: the morning news program is called Morning Edition, the afternoon is All Things Considered. Same show, different times.

  10. I have sound now! I really liked this blog. You daily events are interesting to us as readers of this incredible blogger we love to follow...yes you.

  11. Ginger - well, thanks. I'm not feeling particularly good about blogging these days. I think I've run dry. But if something comes to me, I'll post something once in a while. Thanks for being there.

  12. Aguja - didn't mean to forget you! I was captivated as well. Makes me wonder how much "other" music I've missed out on. Thanks for the comment!

  13. Glass is fantastic! I love his music.


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