Glass Violin

Review by: Victor Carr Jr

Artistic Quality: 10

Sound Quality: 10

Naxos’ exciting and important American Classics series now includes music of the present day, in this case three recent works by Philip Glass. The Violin Concerto, a work that (surprisingly) adheres to classical conventions, lures us in with beautiful, seductive harmonies. Glass relies both on his trademark arpeggiated technique (sounding in the first movement somewhat like Vivaldi’s “Winter” concerto) and on his favorite harmonic progressions to suggest a sustained melodic line. In the first two movements Glass’ carefully timed harmonic and rhythmic shifts keep you in a happy daze. He breaks the mood in the finale, however, leaving the soloist to practice arpeggios at length until the quiet, serene coda steals in. Adele Anthony, who plays with the kind of skill and grace we would expect in a Mozart concerto, brings off Glass’ work with consummate, convincing musicianship. Company (music for Becket’s prose) for string orchestra is in four movements, characterized by stimulating changes in time signature and rhythm. The Prelude and Dance from Akhnaten, Glass’ third opera, sound exceedingly repetitious without the opera’s spoken dramatic narrative, but of course, this won’t bother committed Glass fans who will find much to cherish in this recording. Newcomers, too, will enjoy this tuneful if unchallenging music, which benefits from the characterful playing of the Ulster Orchestra under Takuo Yuasa’s keen leadership. The sound is excellent. Another home-run from Naxos. [Editor’s Note: In the USA, this disc will be released as part of the American Music Series, with the catalog number 8.559056.]

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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: None

PHILIP GLASS - Violin Concerto; Company; Prelude & Dance from Akhnaten

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