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Glass: Solo Piano Music / Jeroen Van Veen


Release Date: 02/26/2013 
Label:  Brilliant Classics   Catalog #: 9419  
Composer:  Philip Glass
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



GLASS Glassworks: Opening (3 versions). Metamorphosis. Mad Rush. Wichita Vortex Sutra. The Hours. Truman Sleeps. Olympian. Modern Love Waltz. How Now. “Trilogy” Sonata Jeroen van Veen (pn, org) BRILLIANT 9419 (3 CDs: 184:12)


This collection goes by the title Solo Piano Music . You might think, given its size, that it contains Glass’s Read more style="font-style:italic">complete solo piano music, but it does not. The 10 etudes are not included, and there might be other omissions as well. Furthermore, some of these works originally were composed for other keyboard instruments. Mad Rush , for example, started as an organ work, in honor of the Dalai Lama’s visit to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. One last piece of housekeeping needs to be mentioned at the outset: these three discs are identical to the first three discs in van Veen’s nine-CD Minimal Piano Collection (Brilliant Classics 8551, not reviewed here), so if you have that, you don’t need this, unless you’re just trying to fill space.


Several aspects of Glass’s creative life are represented here. How Now , from 1968, is Glass at his most purely minimalistic. (I believe that this was not originally a piano work as well.) The nimble and cheerful Modern Love Waltz , from 1977, was composed for The Waltz Project , a collection of contemporary waltzes. Mad Rush comes from 1981 when the non-specialist world was beginning to notice Glass in a big way, and Metamorphosis and Wichita Vortex Sutra , both from 1988, make more concessions to the average listener, although they remain unabashedly minimalistic. Glass the theater composer is represented by the “Trilogy” Sonata (its three movements are comprised of sections from Einstein on the Beach, Satyagraha , and Akhnaten , respectively), and Glass’s work in the mainstream cinema is represented by The Hours (11 tracks, three fewer than on Michael Riesman’s disc for Orange Mountain Music) and “Truman Sleeps” from the Jim Carrey vehicle The Truman Show . Both are pretty and undemanding. I’m guessing that the Olympian was a pièce d’occasion for one of the recent Olympics. (It’s vapid enough to be associated with them.) Glassworks fits into yet another category: It was conceived as a studio album—Glass’s first release for CBS Masterworks. Van Veen presents its opening track in three guises: in the original version for solo piano, in van Veen’s longer version for solo piano (he adds a brief chordal section based on Glass’s harmonies), and in a version for organ. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether or not that is overkill!


Glass recorded a disc of his solo piano music for CBS (MK 45576) in 1989; it contains Metamorphosis, Mad Rush , and Wichita Vortex Sutra . One might assume that Glass’s own versions are definitive. He is a composer who is also a capable keyboard player. This is in contrast to van Veen, who is a keyboard player who has demonstrated himself (elsewhere) to be a capable composer. Glass’s performances are objective, unvarnished, and workmanlike, in the best sense. Van Veen’s, on the other hand, are subjective, even romantic. He interprets Glass’s music. Perhaps it is an exaggeration to say that Glass doesn’t interpret his music at all—he simply plays it—but the truth is not far from that. Van Veen uses the sustaining pedal where he thinks it is appropriate, does more with dynamics, phrases the music more, and, in general, plays the slower music more slowly and the fast music more quickly. (He makes Glass sound clunky in “Metamorphosis Three.”) I honestly wonder what Glass thinks about van Veen’s playing. I think it’s good, but it isn’t as simple as Glass’s.


The booklet contains a three-page biography of the composer by van Veen, and a two-page biography of the performer himself. There’s nothing about the repertory, however, which is unfortunate and also surprising, given van Veen’s thoroughness in that area (an entire CD-ROM devoted to notes and supplementary material!) in the second Minimal Piano Collection (Brilliant Classics 9171). Readers might like to know, for example, that Metamorphosis is named after Kafka’s story and also is based on music that Glass composed for Errol Morris’s film The Thin White Line , and that Wichita Vortex Sutra was based on a poem by Allen Ginsberg. Pianist Aleck Karis’s competing disc (Roméo Records) includes much better booklet notes, and also more romantic playing.


If you like Glass brut , stick with Glass himself, but if you prefer his music demi-sec , you’ll probably like van Veen!


FANFARE: Raymond Tuttle
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Works on This Recording

1. Glassworks: Opening by Philip Glass
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1981; United States of Ame 
2. Metamorphoses (5) by Philip Glass
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1988; USA 
3. Mad Rush by Philip Glass
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1981; USA 
4. Wichita Vortex Sutra by Philip Glass
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1988; USA 
5. Glassworks: Opening by Philip Glass
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1981; United States of Ame 
6. The Hours: The Poet Acts by Philip Glass
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2002; USA 
7. The Hours: Morning Passages by Philip Glass
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2002 
8. The Hours: Something She Has to Do by Philip Glass
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
9. The Hours: I'm Going to Make a Cake by Philip Glass
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
10. The Hours: An Unwelcome Friend by Philip Glass
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
11. The Hours: Dead Things by Philip Glass
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
12. The Hours: Why Does Someone Have to Die? by Philip Glass
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
13. The Hours: Tearing Herself Away by Philip Glass
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: 2002; USA 
14. The Hours: Escape! by Philip Glass
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Period: Contemporary 
15. The Hours: Choosing Life by Philip Glass
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
16. The Hours: The Hours by Philip Glass
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: 2002; USA 
17. The Truman Show: Truman Sleeps by Philip Glass
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1998 
18. Glassworks: Opening by Philip Glass
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1981; United States of Ame 
19. Olympian by Philip Glass
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
20. Modern Love Waltz by Philip Glass
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1977; USA 
21. How Now by Philip Glass
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
22. Trilogy Sonata for Piano by Philip Glass
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1998; USA 

Sound Samples

Glassworks (arr. J. van Veen for piano): Glassworks: I. Opening (arr. J. van Veen for piano)
Metamorphosis I
Metamorphosis II
Metamorphosis III
Metamorphosis IV
Metamorphosis V
Mad Rush
Wichita Vortex Sutra
Glassworks: I. Opening: No. 1
The Hours Suite (arr. M. Riesman and N. Muhly for piano): I. The Poet Acts
The Hours Suite (arr. M. Riesman and N. Muhly for piano): II. Morning Passages
The Hours Suite (arr. M. Riesman and N. Muhly for piano): III. Something She Has to Do
The Hours Suite (arr. M. Riesman and N. Muhly for piano): IV. I'm Going to Make a Cake
The Hours Suite (arr. M. Riesman and N. Muhly for piano): V. An Unwelcome Friend
The Hours Suite (arr. M. Riesman and N. Muhly for piano): VI. Dead Things
The Hours Suite (arr. M. Riesman and N. Muhly for piano): VII. Why Does Someone Have to Die
The Hours Suite (arr. M. Riesman and N. Muhly for piano): VIII. Tearing Herself Away
The Hours Suite (arr. M. Riesman and N. Muhly for piano): IX. Escape
The Hours Suite (arr. M. Riesman and N. Muhly for piano): X. Choosing Life
The Hours Suite (arr. M. Riesman and N. Muhly for piano): XI. The Hours
The Truman Show: Truman Sleeps
Glassworks: I. Opening: No. 2
Olympian (version for piano)
Modern Love Waltz
How Now
Trilogy Sonata (arr. P. Barnes for piano): I. Einstein on the Beach: Knee Play No. 4
Trilogy Sonata (arr. P. Barnes for piano): II. Satyagraha, Act III: Conclusion
Trilogy Sonata (arr. P. Barnes for piano): III. Akhnaten, Scene 3: Dance

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