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,

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