I love music.

I write about the music I like and have purchased for the benefit of better understanding it and sharing my preferences with others.

Philip Glass Movie

Having recently signed up for a NetFlix account, I found within their catalog a film entitled Philip Glass, which is a documentary about the composer, Philip Glass. Over the years, I have warmed to both the music of Glass and also Steve Reich, who are probably the two more prolific composers of a style that has been called minimalism. I can't recommend the movie enough - it was wonderful. If you've seen pictures or portraits of Glass, he often looks hard, cold, and unapproachable. The composer however in the film is funny, very human, and likable. The documentary follows him on several projects and is divided into "12 parts," a play on one of his own compositions. We meet his family, friends, colleagues, and we get a sense of what being a professional composer in the 21st century is like. He also get to see a little bit about what makes Glass tick: his spiritual journey with eastern teachings, from Buddhism to tai chi masters. What I thought was interesting from a practical perspective is how Glass writes his music: at a bench with two rulers, pencils, and paper. At his side, a piano. He later hires people to sequence his music into a computer, where it can be listened to, and where changes can be made. The composer seems very open to making changes to what others tell him. For someone who used to study music composition, I found it fascinating. In one scene, Glass travels to Germany to see the premier of a new opera, Barbarians. From his hotel room, he has a MacBook and an iSight camera, which he's using to talk to his wife and his son. The room has a piano in it, and the son wants to hear his dad play something on that piano. So, Glass hands the iSight to the documenter, and he walks over to the piano and plays a few chords, riffs if you will. Fascinating. His little fanciful noisemaking wasn't anything like his own music...

Imaginarium records Vivaldi Sonatas