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Glass: Symphony No 10 / Davies, Bruckner Orchestra Linz

Glass,P. / Davies,Russell,Dennis
Release Date: 08/14/2015 
Label:  Orange Mountain Music   Catalog #: 101   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Philip Glass
Conductor:  Dennis Russell Davies
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bruckner Orchester Linz
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Philip Glass’ 15 minutes of quasi-popular fame may be a thing of the past, but he has gone on to create a very impressive body of work in what we might call the “conventional” forms of orchestral music: symphony, concerto, and overture. In all of these cases he has recast the medium in his own stylistic terms, with (it has to be said) varying degrees of success. I have lived with this Tenth Symphony for a while now, and listened to it several times with pleasure, but I’m still not quite sure what to make of it.

The piece has five movements lasting from about six to eight minutes apiece, and plays for around 35 minutes in total. Each section features typically Glass-like rhythmic patterns and harmonic sequences, and while he
Read more does vary the formula, there are moments–such as the second movement–where you do get the sense that the music consists of an accompaniment to a tune that never arrives. The third movement offers a notable exception, where low brass and heavy rhythms introduce a bright, exotic melodic fragment that could have come straight from a 19th-century French orientalist ballet.

In general the two outer movements are swifter and livelier than the inner ones, but the constant rhythmic pulse running through each of them risks monotony not so much individually, but in aggregate. Similarly, there doesn’t seem to be any particular expressive motivation or necessity for five movements, enjoyable as they are, arranged in this particular sequence. Glass’ patterns are often aurally captivating, but I can’t say (in this particular work at least) that they will sustain repeated listening long term. Certainly Dennis Russell Davies and the Bruckner Orchestra of Linz play the music very well–and I just love the idea of the “Bruckner Orchestra” playing Glass. The two composers have more in common than you might at first think.

The Concert Overture, by the way, a real “chip off the master’s workbench”, is a short piece composed as a sort of homage to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, which it in no way recalls. That’s a good thing. Nevertheless, I’ll stick with the original.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Concert Overture by Philip Glass
Conductor:  Dennis Russell Davies
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bruckner Orchester Linz
Symphony no 10 by Philip Glass
Conductor:  Dennis Russell Davies
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bruckner Orchester Linz
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2011-2012; USA 

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