Glass: Tirol Concerto; Passages (excerpts)

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

LABELS: Orange Mountain Music
WORKS: Tirol Concerto; Passages (excerpts)
PERFORMER: Raschèr Saxophone Quartet; Stuttgart CO/Dennis Russell Davies (piano)
This disc involves several of Glass’s regular associates. Dennis Russell Davies, long identified with Glass’s works as conductor, directs from the piano, and part of the programme features music from the collaborative project Passages by Glass and his sometime teacher Ravi Shankar, which was recorded in its entirety nearly 15 years ago. This version features the Raschèr Saxophone Quartet, also associated with Glass’s work. So, something of a reunion on several levels, then, but there’s also something shamelessly odd about the project as a whole. That Philip Glass, mandarin of the New York loft scene, should have a CD commissioned by the Tirol Tourist Board seems incongruous, but the Tirol Concerto is engaging enough, elegantly folding various folk melodies of the region into the composer’s unmistakable structures. Davies in particular gives a spirited, persuasive performance, so it’s a pity that his playing is sometimes muddied and slurred, seemingly by the acoustic of the venue. The extracts from Passages hold up better sonically, but the original project had a slightly offhand feel which remains in evidence. It’s unfortunate, incidentally, that this magazine doesn’t award stars for booklet note proofreading, as Ravi ‘Shanker’ and the members of the ‘Rashèr’ Quartet would no doubt agree. Roger Thomas