Glass: Glass Reflections: The Secret Agent; Attack and Fall; Funeral of Amenhotep III; Symphony for Eight; Company; Mishima; Façades

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Glass
LABELS: Ibérico
WORKS: Glass Reflections: The Secret Agent; Attack and Fall; Funeral of Amenhotep III; Symphony for Eight; Company; Mishima; Façades
PERFORMER: Cello Octet Conjunto Ibérico/Elias Arizcuren
CATALOGUE NO: CX 4005
There’s no surer indication of the works of a contemporary composer becoming fixtures in the repertoire than when others begin arranging his/her music for improbable-sounding resources – but Philip Glass for cello octet? In fact, as such developments go, this is more interesting than might first appear. The notion of a group of identical instruments has one foot in the avant-garde and the other in a corner of the mainstream. This group is of course of the first variety, but these particular arrangements have an unusual history. Glass had initially agreed to compose for the octet but instead reached an agreement whereby the ensemble could avail itself of his existing catalogue. ‘Glass Reflections’ is the result, perfectly palatable to Glass fans, but unlikely to win new converts, although that was probably never on the cards anyway. Churning strings have always been an integral part of the composer’s orchestral works and, while there are a few instances where it just seems as though the fiddles have forgotten to turn up, for the most part the octet’s approach is remarkably convincing. There are some intriguing takes on some of Glass’s mixed ensemble pieces, too. Roger Thomas

Advertisement