In the Upper Room
? Performers conducted by Michael Riesman
Orange Mountain Music
I had the original LP of Glass’ album Dancepieces, which had five of the the nine dances from the Twyla Tharp collaboration In the Upper Room. It was a decent album, although I think it heralded a lot of the decline in originality and quality of Glass’ music that pretty much started with Glassworks and The Photographer. The original LP of Dancepieces included a fair amount of synthesizers, which isn’t a bad thing, but for this new release, Glass elected to present the complete series of nine dances and all for acoustic instruments.
One thing I resent about this album is the lack of mention of any of the performers. All I can say is that it is an ensemble conducted by Michael Riesman. It would be nice to list the musicians. I think it’s pretty safe to say it isn’t the Philip Glass Ensemble.
To be honest, the differences in sound from the original synthesizer-heavy recording isn’t as great as I would have imagined. It’s interesting to hear the dances that were omitted from the earlier recording, but none of them are particularly revelatory. It’s an ok album, especially for Glass fanatics, but if you really want to hear some great music by Glass, check out pretty much anything written before his masterpiece Satyagraha.