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Philip Glass Symphony No.10


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Author Topic: Philip Glass Symphony No.10  (Read 2940 times)
Dundonnell
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« on: October 29, 2013, 03:30:16 am »

I have recently downloaded from YT and listened to Philip Glass's newish Symphony No.10 in its Proms performance of earlier this year.

Now, I must admit to liking some Philip Glass Grin but the Symphony No.10 must enter into the category of "Worst Symphonies" ever written Sad It is painfully obvious that Glass has completely run out of ideas(if he ever had any, some would say Grin). The Symphony No.10 is just embarrassing to listen to. It is feeble, weak, tired, repetitive(yes, I know that Glass is supposed to be repetitive!) but this is just plain dreadful.

Try it for yourself Roll Eyes If you can find ANY redeeming feature to such a ghastly mishmash of recycled Glass(haha) please tell me that I am mistaken!!!!
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ahinton
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« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2013, 07:35:10 am »

I have recently downloaded from YT and listened to Philip Glass's newish Symphony No.10 in its Proms performance of earlier this year.
You'll live...

Now, I must admit to liking some Philip Glass
Must you? Muss es sein? Is there some law that determined that you have some kind of duty to do such a thing?

but the Symphony No.10 must enter into the category of "Worst Symphonies" ever written Sad It is painfully obvious that Glass has completely run out of ideas(if he ever had any, some would say Grin).
The expression "run out of a lack of ideas" is one that I used years ago about what determines endings in pieces of Glass - so long ago that it predated the "composer"'s work as a "symphonist - but it merits recycling here, methinks, if only for old time's sake!

The Symphony No.10 is just embarrassing to listen to. It is feeble, weak, tired, repetitive(yes, I know that Glass is supposed to be repetitive!) but this is just plain dreadful.
But unless you're being paid to review it, you don't HAVE to listen to it, do you?(!). Anyway, as it's all those things and less, it's presumably also typical...

Try it for yourself
I didn't realise until now that you really have it in for members of this forum!

a ghastly mishmash of recycled Glass(haha)
I cannot help but suspect that all those tiresome and well-worn(-out) similes come to mind as a consequential by-product of the effect of listening to this "music", which is pane-ful enough to cause the eyes to (double-)glaze over but which offers the listener insufficient insulation against itself despite being so full of inert gas; it is not only undeserving of performance even at The Shard, it invites in any intelligent listener a cry of "cut Glass!" which, sadly, the continuance of a performance "tradition" in the stuff demonstrates as going woefully unheeded. Anyway, that's more than enough wining about Glass - except, perhaps, to mention that a Canadian musicologist colleague of mine calls him "Philippe de Vitry"...
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dyn
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« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2013, 10:27:48 am »

This rather amusing review of the same symphony has been floating around the internet for a few months, perhaps people here have seen it already (perhaps I posted it before? I'm growing senile in my old age. lol)

I'm not particularly tempted to listen for myself, but a surprisingly large number of people seem to have "loved" or "liked" it, so evidently there is a certain appeal (even if it's mainly in its similarity to film and popular music).

FWIW I think Glass does backdrops for film and dance rather well but don't particularly enjoy any of his concert music on its own.
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guest54
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« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2013, 11:03:34 am »

Try it for yourself . . .

No thanks . . .
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2013, 02:16:05 pm »

In response...particularly to Alistair Smiley

I felt it necessary to confess(confession, as they say, is good for the soul) to liking some Glass in order to establish that I am not an inveterate critic of the man's music. I have found some Glass pleasant and attractive-although, for the life of me, I cannot remember which Grin

Secondly, I suffer from that sad, lamentable and pathetic afflication: completist syndrome Grin If I first buy a composer's symphony I feel duty bound/compelled to add his other essays in that form. I could attempt to justify this by arguing that I am attempting to build a further and more complete picture of his musical output.......but that would be sophistry Roll Eyes

Glass's vast 9th Symphony seemed to me to have some slight merit and that led me to the downlod of the 10th. Within a few minutes I became appalled at the work's utter banality. Even by the standards of Glass's other music-which is obviously not rated very highly Grin Grin by others-the 10th is unbelievably dreadful. What struck me so forcibly was that the work sounded so totally empty of anything other than a tired rehash. Rather than greet the work with applause and cheers-as did the promenaders- I wanted to shout "stop...enough, give up".

dyn's link to the review- I had read this before I listened to the piece but I had hoped that I might disagree Roll Eyes I note however the number of favourable comments on the symphony outnumber those who disliked it. There is clearly a market even for "substandard Glass" Grin Roll Eyes The man has enough money to have his own record label and to issue recordings of most of his music(at inflated prices).

No....of course, you do NOT have to listen to it if you feel that you already know just how bad the symphony actually is Smiley It makes the Khachacturian 3rd seem like a masterpiece....and for me that is really saying something Grin Grin
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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2013, 02:28:00 pm »

but a surprisingly large number of people seem to have "loved" or "liked" it

I don't find that surprising.

Philip Glass is classical music for people who don't really like music, but feel they ought to.

His operas vary between second-rate and third-rate - mostly depending on librettos that range from sentimental tosh (LA BELLE ET LA BETE) through to pretentious Greenwich Village twaddle (SATYAGRAHA)... one of the most painful evenings I've ever spent in a theatre. The one time he actually hired experienced librettists (AKHNATEN) he managed to produce something half-decent, that can be made watchable if given a decent production.

It's quite sad, really. He used to be a better composer. He's read the luvvy adulations - believed them, and acted upon them.
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Jolly Roger
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« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2013, 03:47:33 am »

but a surprisingly large number of people seem to have "loved" or "liked" it

I don't find that surprising.

Philip Glass is classical music for people who don't really like music, but feel they ought to.

His operas vary between second-rate and third-rate - mostly depending on librettos that range from sentimental tosh (LA BELLE ET LA BETE) through to pretentious Greenwich Village twaddle (SATYAGRAHA)... one of the most painful evenings I've ever spent in a theatre. The one time he actually hired experienced librettists (AKHNATEN) he managed to produce something half-decent, that can be made watchable if given a decent production.

It's quite sad, really. He used to be a better composer. He's read the luvvy adulations - believed them, and acted upon them.
Whatever inspiration Glass might have had is absent except for clever marketing titles and themes, much of his later symphonic work is endlesslessly repetitive, all written from the same grey cloth and written only because of pubilc demand for it. If I was into hypnosis, I might think otherwise, but I have neither the time or patience to listen to what I percieve as pointless droneing.
While I do like a few of his shorter pieces(eg..4 sax concerto), I hesitate to admit that, lest I be demonized for it.
Glass only in smaller doses has any value for me.
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autoharp
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« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2013, 11:03:03 am »

Those of us who were aware of early minimalism as it was happening were considerably interested in what Glass was up to in 1969: Two Pages, Music in Fifths and (especially) Music in Similar Motion. I participated in many performances of those works in the mid-1970s, but regarded with increasing dismay almost everything that he produced since 1971. I still regard Music in Similar Motion as an excellent piece - but I suspect that few members of this board are as attracted to early minimalism as I am (?).

I don't any longer regard Glass as a "minimalist" composer, by the way, and nobody else should either.
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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2013, 12:04:44 pm »

I don't any longer regard Glass as a "minimalist" composer, by the way, and nobody else should either.

Would you regard him as a minimal composer, Mr Harp?   Wink
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autoharp
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« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2013, 03:34:11 pm »

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Gauk
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« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2013, 04:15:45 pm »

The old criticism of Vivaldi that he wrote one concerto multiple times might be rehashed for Glass's symphonies. The problem is not so much repetition in the minimalist sense as re-suing the same tropes in work after work. But I will say this - they make excellent music for driving.

By the way, have you noticed how CDs of Glass's music constantly short-change the buyer, often with only 30-40 mins on each disc?
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ahinton
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« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2013, 04:16:26 pm »


!!!

For the record, I'd struggle to recognise him as a "composer" at all, I'm sorry to have to say.
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ahinton
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« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2013, 04:22:09 pm »

The old criticism of Vivaldi that he wrote one concerto multiple times might be rehashed for Glass's symphonies.
I suspect that kind of thing on principle and have done ever since I heard Medtner described by some fool presumably unaware of his three great sonatas for violin and piano as having written the same sonata 14 times.

The problem is not so much repetition
Oh yes it is! So VERY much repetition, sadly most often of material that hardly bore stating in the first place.

in the minimalist sense as re-suing the same tropes in work after work
Is he really worth suing for it?(!)...

But I will say this - they make excellent music for driving.
I disagree; Mahler's symphonies are bad enough as driving accompaniments because of the way sin which they distract drivers' attention from driving; Glass's unsymphonies are more dangerous still for the driver in that they encourage him/her to lose the will to live while driving.

By the way, have you noticed how CDs of Glass's music constantly short-change the buyer, often with only 30-40 mins on each disc?
I hadn't, so thank you for reminding us of what is perhaps the nearest that they're ever likely to get to a redeeming feature.
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Jolly Roger
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« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2013, 06:42:47 am »

The old criticism of Vivaldi that he wrote one concerto multiple times might be rehashed for Glass's symphonies. The problem is not so much repetition in the minimalist sense as re-suing the same tropes in work after work. But I will say this - they make excellent music for driving.

By the way, have you noticed how CDs of Glass's music constantly short-change the buyer, often with only 30-40 mins on each disc?
This is an acknowledgement that Glass is best in small doses..
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Elroel
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« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2013, 12:55:14 pm »

I never was a lover of Glass' music. As said by others, there a few works, that partly kept me listening.
This 10th symphony is to me his worst. After 3 minutes it was over. I scrolled to other sections of the work, but that didn't change my view.

I saw a couple of interviews with Philip Glass. He has a clear idea asbout his music, and convincing as well. But when in comes to listening to his music: I'm out.

Jolly Roger's comment:"This is an acknowledgement that Glass is best in small doses., is a funny find, but he overlooked the fact that especially American labels, give us around 30 minutes or less. They already did it on lp's since the 1960s.



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