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Essential Philip Glass


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  • As a short collection of Philip Glass' most moving and most animated pieces, The Essential Philip Glass suffices to a certain extent. The 13 tracks that make up this compilation contain some of his most famous movements and compositions, like the hovering angelic vocals that cascade through "Bed," from Einstein on the Beach, or the mixture of modern synthesizers and pastoral choir singing from "Window of Appearances" involving the Stuttgart State Opera, Orchestra & Chorus off of the Akhnaten album. While these tracks and many others represent Glass' sometimes gothic, sometimes beautifully enlightening style of minimalist instrumentation and keyboard work, it should be known that his material stretches way beyond this baker's dozen. With over 15 studio albums spanning from 1974, Philip Glass' career is much too illustrious to label this collection essential. If regarded for its sustenance rather than its efforts at representing his broad spectrum of material, the album itself makes a good listen. "Lightening" takes on the form of a Tangerine Dream track with its pulsating synth work, but is then elevated by Janice Pendarvis' rich vocal candor, and "Changing Opinion" blends flute, piano, and the voice of Bernard Fowler into its subtle yet gripping intricacies. The tracks from The Essential Philip Glass do exhibit some but not all types of his peculiar ingeniousness and musical eccentricities. ~ Mike DeGagne
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