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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

In Context: The Etudes



The Etudes, a performance of Philip Glass's complete piano etudes, comes to BAM on December 5 & 6. Context is everything, so get even closer to the show with this curated selection of articles, interviews, and videos related to the production. Once you've seen it, help us keep the conversation going by telling us what you thought below.


Program Notes

The Etudes (PDF)


Read

Interview
Philip Glass Discusses His Etudes
Glass discusses interpretation, tempo indications, and more in regard to his etudes.

Interview
Portrait of the Artist: Philip Glass (The Guardian)
Glass opines on fame, independence, and the contested term “minimalist.”

Interview
Philip Glass Interviewed by Ira Glass (NPR)
The cousins discuss musical technique, style, and stomping on old records.


Watch & Listen

Video
Etude No.16, Philip Glass (YouTube)
Maki Namekawa performs a well-heeled version of one of Glass's later etudes.

Video
Philip Glass Discusses His Etudes (YouTube)
Glass wrote his etudes in part to improve his own playing.

Video
Philip Glass On His Relationship to Pianos (YouTube)
Don't put a drink on Philip Glass's piano.

Video
The Creative Pulse: A Conversation with Philip Glass (The Graduate Center, CUNY)
Glass discusses his early training, jazz, Ravi Shankar, and more with flutist Claire Chase.

Audio
BAM Iconic Artist Talk: Philip Glass (WNYC)
Glass and Etudes pianist Nico Muhly talk Einstein on the Beach and more at BAM.


Now your turn...

So how did you enjoy the show? Likes? Dislikes? Surprises? Tell us what's on your mind in the comments below.

22 comments:

  1. Magnificent music performed by magnificent musicians. It was a privilege to be in the audience tonight.

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  2. Absolutely stunning!

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  3. Tremendous performances of great music. An unforgettable evening. Thank you, BAM!

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  4. Blown away. Etudes 15 and 16 brought me to tears.

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  5. What an incredible concert. My faves? 5, 6, 16, and 20. Repetition and feelings, all at the same time. Excellent excellent!!

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  6. Wonderful piano playing, great to see 10 different pianists. Query: why not, since you are already back projecting, project pianist's hands and keyboard; thee keyboard is not visibible from half the hall. As always thanks for great program.

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  7. Wonderful music, wonderful pianists and wonderful performances. I especially like the softer pieces like 17 and 18, but 20 was great too. One of the most unforgettable concers I have every been to.

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  8. A great privilege to be in the audience. Happy Birthday Mr. Glass.

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  9. The concept and simple, minimalist staging of Philip Glass's Piano Etudes last night made for one of the most elegant and exciting evenings of music I have ever experienced. The row of ten piano benches along the back of the stage — each of them spotlighted and brought forward for each individual pianist, then replaced back in its spotlighted space — was brilliant staging, giving visible weight to the talent of the performers and the importance of the music. It was thrilling to have the opportunity to hear not only all of the etudes — both (Book 1 and Book 2) in one evening — but to have the chance to hear them played by Philip Glass and nine other incredible pianists, each of them playing two of the etudes. I wish I could come back for the next evening and hear the same musicians play a different pairing of the etudes. I spent most of the evening with my eyes closed, letting the music wash over me and feeling like one of the luckiest people alive.

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  10. An incredible evening. The music was stunning, and the performers could not have done any better. It was a real treat.

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  11. Outstanding. A beautiful minimalist set and group of superb pianists each with a signature style made this a constantly fresh and engaging musical experience

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  12. I really think that BAM ought to establish a no-late-seating policy. I sat in the balcony for the Friday night performance and ushers allowed stragglers to try to find their seats DURING THE PERFORMANCE itself. I cannot say how rude I found this practice and how terribly disappointed I was, trying to savor a wonderful opportunity to hear the composer himself play the Etudes and have that marred by disrespectful stragglers and compliant ushers.

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  13. Spectacular experience, musically and presentationally. I was honored to be present at such a magnificent performance of art and music at the very highest level.

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  14. I loved the performance. Transportive. I really enjoyed the variety of performers and seeing what each had to bring to the work. Excellent evening.

    On a side note, to BAM management. Please rethink your late seating policy. I missed the beginning of Etudes 1-6 because of late patrons. I don't know if this only went on in the balcony where I was sitting or all over, but given the intimacy of the performances, I was surprised at how poorly this was handled. Either have no late seating, hold the show for 5 at the top, or leave more space in between sets. It was HIGHLY disruptive. And continued to happen over an extended period of time.

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    1. I am in total agreement with this patron regarding late seating. Incredibly disruptive.

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    2. I have to agree with the posts above. The amount of people who came in while Philip Glass was performing was incredibly disruptive. I left feeling disappointed that I didn't really get to experience seeing Philip Glass perform.

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    3. I completely agree. I was in the balcony Friday night and it was not until after Etude 6 that the late seating died down. It is very distracting and incredibly rude. Ditto the people who keep checking their brightly lit cell phones. I hate to see how disrespectful audiences have become.

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  15. Loved it! Fantastic and beautiful music and made me a fan of Mr Timo Andres

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  16. A reminder of why music matters. Brilliant

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  17. Gaston Dominick MusellaDecember 9, 2014 at 5:46 PM

    The Etudes marks the 20th time I have seen Philip Glass at BAM, and about 75th time I have seen Mr. Glass in some form live in concert during the last 40 plus years of my life. I was lucky to see at BAM, both revivals of Einstein on the Beach, the American version of The Photographer, the original production of Satyagraha, Monstors of Grace, Dance with Lucinda Childs, Koyaniskatsi with live accompaniment; at the Metropolitan Opera House, the original Einstein on the Beach, the Voyage, the new production of Satyagraha, Akhenaten, The Voyage; at Citicorp, the first Tibet concert of Mr. Glass on solo organ; but I digress.
    Philip Glass continues to be the great composer he set out to be and it is to his credit that he still dazzles; with The Etudes, a evening of small, lightly challenging piano pieces, he has come to a weathered age of profound reveries. Gone are the frantic organ trips that sounded so impossible to play in the past. Gone also are additive synthesis, redundant repetition and sometimes mind numbing cacophony (to some, not me). The Etudes seemed philosophically meditative, sometimes startling, not always interesting, but this was an evening of beauty and subtlety and diversity as great as the pianists (and their outfits) who played them. Not being a technical pianist, I lack the ability to comment on many aspects of the evening, but it looked wonderful and sounded lovely and I can see Book II inspiring dances galore. I await the choreographer who takes up the challenge.

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