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“Dreaming Awake” = Music by PHILIP GLASS – Bruce Levingston (piano)/ Ethan Hawke (narration) – Sono Luminus (2-CDs)

“Dreaming Awake” = Music by PHILIP GLASS –  Bruce Levingston (piano)/ Ethan Hawke (narration) – Sono Luminus 2-CD set DSL 92205 TT: 109:44 (9/30/16) ***1/2:

A fine survey of Glass’s music for piano and narrator.

This is a Sono Luminus release of Bruce Levingston’s new album Dreaming Awake. Levingston, an acclaimed concert pianist and recording artist whose last album, “Heavy Sleep“, was named one the “Best Recordings of the 2015” by The New York Times, pays tribute to Philip Glass with an exploration of his works that spans the length of the composer’s career. The recording includes the world premiere of The Illusionist Suite, ten of the composer’s dramatic and deeply moving etudes, as well as the richly-colored tone poems Dreaming Awake, Metamorphosis No. 2 and Wichita Vortex Sutra featuring actor Ethan Hawke as guest artist reading the Allen Ginsberg poem.

Glass is a love/hate kind of composer. Derided by some as ‘silly and repetitive’, while others are fully on board with his musical explorations. On balance, Glass is revered for his film scores, classical compositions, and operas.

This CD is a very fine tribute to the composer’s career with some familiar Glass, the aforementioned world premier, and the interesting Wichita Vortex Suite with Ethan Hawke. Hawke’s reading is quite good, but though short it’s a bit of an interruption to an otherwise all instrumental program.

Sound-wise this is a good recording, with the piano having a very natural sound. Although recorded in high definition and Auro 3D 9 channel sound, the disc provided for review is a standard CD.

Lovers of Glass will be happy about this release, detractors will skip it. I enjoyed the disc, and am a long time Glass fan. When I listen again for pleasure I’ll program the Ginsberg out.

—Mel Martin

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