30 years after Philip Glass’ debut record the new music ensemble Signal asked Philip Glass Ensemble music director Michael Riesman to arrange the classic album “Glassworks” for live performance. The concert took place at the New York venue, Poisson Lubman in April 2010. This CD features a new recording of the entire score, paired with a riveting performance of “Music in Similar Motion”.
Following the recent successful albums of his transcriptions of music by Philip Glass, pianist Michael Riesman presents a new album of solo transcriptions and arrangements from Philip Glass's opera Beauty and the Beast. In Glass's music, the power of the creative and the raw world of nature, represented respectively by Beauty and the Beast, finally emerges and allows the world of imagination to take flight.
In 2002 Philip Glass composed the soundtrack score to the Stephen Daldry film "The Hours". The film went on to receive 9 Acadamy Awards nominations, including one for ‘best score’. At the beginning of the film, Daldry depicts the timelessness of small daily events, how the real elements of life are patterns that repeat across time. The movie opens with three women from three different eras intercut, all doing similar things. There's Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) in 1923, a troubled young mother (Julianne Moore) in 1951 and a woman (Meryl Streep) in 2001 making preparations for a party later that evening. In one location flowers are bought, in another displayed, in another discarded. Philip Glass' score intensely underlines the images with a sense of strangeness and sympathy. Michael Riesman, Mr. Glass’ longtime musical director and producer of the film score recordings, created solo piano adaptations of the original score and has been performing them in concert.
In this new recording made at Canada's famous Glenn Gould Studio at the CBC in Toronto, conductor and Philip Glass champion Anne Manson leads pianist Michael Riesman and her own Manitoba Chamber Orchestra in a tour de force performance of Glass's Oscar nominated music from The Hours and a virtuosic performance of Glass's Symphony No.3. Riesman, conductor and pianist on the original soundtrack recording of The Hours, was commissioned in 2002 to create a concert piece based on the score. Glass's third symphony was written in 1995 for the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra and is one of the composer's most performed and accessible concert works. This recording shows off the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra's versatility, especially in the quick paced second and fourth movements, as well as the ensembles silky interpretation of the many-layered voices of the third movement, all under the precise direction of Manson.
The origins of Philip Glass' Voices, for didgeridoo and organ was specific: a commission from the city of Melbourne, Australia, in 2001. Yet the instrumental combination works so well that it seems almost foreordained, and Glass went on to write further music for the soloist here, Mark Atkins. In this performance, the didgeridoo and organ tracks were recorded separately, in Australia and upstate New York, respectively, and in Glass' metronomic world this works well enough. Yet one hopes that this release on Glass' Orange Mountain Music label is enough to spur future live performances with both players in the same room. The addition of the didgeridoo to the relatively homogeneous texture of Glass' organ writing is dramatic, but it doesn't disturb the basic shifting fields of the composer's music. It just deepens their color and variety in an immensely attractive way.
Michael Riesman is the conductor and producer of nearly every Philip Glass soundtrack recording, including the Academy-Award nominated scores to KUNDUN, THE HOURS and NOTES ON A SCANDAL. PHILIP GLASS SOUNDTRACKS presents his own transcriptions for solo piano of some of the best Philip Glass film scores.
This isn’t the best recording of The Piano Concerto. Despite the fact that, for me at least, John Lenehan has always been the definitive Nyman pianist other than the composer himself, Stott’s interpretation has more vigour and Lawson’s more musicality. Lenehan’s performance is also muddied by the recording’s vague acoustic, a particularly telling problem for die-hard Nymaniacs who have grown up with the crisp, punchy, quasi-rock production style entirely appropriate to Nyman’s music and a trademark since his work with David Cunningham in the early 1980s.