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Philip Glass: Piano Concerto No. 1; Symphony No. 14 etc

Martin James Bartlett (piano); LGT Young Soloists/Alexander Gilman, †Mark Messenger (Orange Mountain Music)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
OMM0161_Glass

Philip Glass
Piano Concerto No. 1 ‘Tirol’; Symphony No. 14 ‘Liechtenstein Suite’†; Echorus
Martin James Bartlett (piano); LGT Young Soloists/Alexander Gilman, †Mark Messenger
Orange Mountain Music OMM 0161   53:00 mins

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In the opening movement to his First Piano Concerto, Glass borrows a snippet from a Tyrolean folk piece – revisited in the third movement – giving the work its nickname, the Tirol. Meanwhile, the second, more substantial, middle movement steals from the soundtrack to The Truman Show, which Glass had composed two years before completing the concerto in 2000. Development of the melody that originally accompanies Truman on his great escape is very subtle – some might argue too subtle. Soloist Martin James Bartlett, who won BBC Young Musician in 2014, is exceptional. There is thoughtful interplay between pianist and ensemble, the LGT Young Soloists – a group of 12-23 year-olds supported by the Liechtenstein private bank.

There’s welcome contrast to be found in Glass’s new 14th Symphony, The Liechtenstein Suite, composed for LGT Young Soloists to mark their patron’s centenary.Glass honoured the brief that every instrument group should have a solo part, and the work was premiered last autumn at the Royal College of Music and this first recording was made around the same time at Abbey Road. Balance is a minor issue in places: the bass section in the second and third movements tends to be overwhelmed by the upper violins.

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Claire Jackson