Philip Glass: Complete Etudes for Piano – Jenny Lin – Steinway & Sons CD 30070 – 11/20/17 TT: Disc 1 – 60:32, Disc 2 – 62:20 ****:
An 80th birthday tribute to Philip Glass
What a delightful 2 disc CD set this is, and a propitious time to celebrate Philip Glass’s 80th Anniversary year.
Philip Glass composed the complete Etudes between 1994 and 2012, many of them for his own personal purposes as a solo recitalist. Glass was busy with composing, and felt he did not have the time to learn Etudes 11-20, which are more difficult to play, so Glass tagged nine other pianists from a variety of backgrounds to join him for the first live performances of all 20 Etudes. Jenny Lin, who is the performer on these discs was among the group selected, alongside Nico Muhly, Timo Andres, jazz virtuoso Aaron Diehl, frequent Glass interpreters Maki Namekawa and Sally Whitwell, and others. The New York premiere took place in December 2014 at Brooklyn Academy of Music. Lin continues to join Glass on the ongoing world tour of the Etudes.
Jenny Lin has had a strong impact on the musical scene, noted for her support of modern music. She has appeared at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, The Kennedy Center, the MoMA and the National Gallery of Art.
Her performance here is energetic and polished. Some people can only take Glass in small doses, but I’ve always been a fan of his music, and I find it’s a joy to immerse myself in the Glass universe of these fresh performances of the Etudes.
The recording was done during four sessions at the Steinway Hall in Manhattan. The acoustics are excellent, and Steinway uses the venue as a showplace for its line of pianos. The recording is a fine one, with a very realistic sound, close enough to hear the details, but not so close as to lose the acoustics of Steinway Hall.
Glass is always a composer have strong opinions about, but Glass lovers will cheer this fine recording and performance of these Etudes.