Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts
Philip Glass, Philip Glass Ensemble, Bruckner Orchester Linz, Michael Riesman, Dennis Russell Davies
Orange Mountain Music

Having taken a lot of heat in the 70’s for being a devout admirer of the music of Philip Glass, I’ve been terribly disappointed for many years by the direction his music has taken, with few works since Satyagraha that really interest me. Not too long ago, a documentary was released in which director Scott Hicks was given free rein to take in Glass’s hectic day-to-day life over an 18-month period, and the result was the film Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts. I confess, I’ve only seen the movie trailer, but have seen a previous documentary about Glass called Looking Glass that struck me as fairly fawning in its approach.

Anyway, this album contains music from the latest Glass documentary, and it provides at least some of his earlier music, like cuts from Einstein and the album formerly called North Star as well as some later excerpts from Orphee and his eighth symphony. As such, it might provide an introduction to Glass’s music for those who have yet to experience it. But with the exception of , none of these excerpts really strike me as major works, although they might have worked well in the film. Given that there is nothing on the album that has not already been commercially released in some form, there is little here for anyone already familiar with Glass’s music, and what is here provides a very incomplete view of Glass’s music for the uninitiated. So it’s not clear to me why this was released over, say, some of his early music that has yet to be released (such as In Again Out Again).

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