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Glass: Piece in the Shape of a Square, etc.

Craig Morris (Bridge)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Glass Piece in the Shape of a Square; Melodies for Saxophone (Arr. Craig Morris); Gradus
Craig Morris (trumpet)
Bridge 9508   51:55 mins


From the transformation of his Violin Concerto for soprano saxophone to the transcriptions of piano works for harp, Philip Glass’s music has been reworked in many creative ways. Here’s a selection of his older pieces recast for solo trumpet. Melodies (1995) – originally written for saxophone – is incidental music written in a way that allows the performer to decide which version of the instrument (soprano, alto, tenor or baritone) to use for any particular piece. Morris cleverly reimagines this process for trumpets using flugelhorn (Melodies 1, 3, 5, 8, 13); trumpet (2, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12); and piccolo trumpet (4, 9). While there are significant differences between the iterations of the trumpet and saxophone, the transition works well; Morris creates a sense of overall cohesion to the 13-piece set.

The other two works on the disc – Gradus (1968) and Piece in the Shape of a Square (1967) – are some of Glass’s earliest compositions, and are seldom heard today. This disc makes a strong case for their revival. Like Melodies, these works were originally intended for woodwind (Gradus was written for soprano saxophone and Piece in the Shape of a Square for two flutes). Morris’s treatment of the free-form rhythmic structure is highly evocative and captures a youthful energy.


Claire Jackson