PHILIP GLASS: Symphony No. 8 – Bruckner Orchestra Linz/ Dennis Russell Davies – Orange Mountain Music

by | Jun 24, 2006 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

PHILIP GLASS: Symphony No. 8 – Bruckner Orchestra Linz/ Dennis Russell Davies – Orange Mountain Music omm0028m 38:43 ***:

Glass’ newest symphony was commissioned by the Bruckner Orchestra Linz and was premiered during their current season. While his last three symphonies involved choruses and/or vocal soloists, No. 8 is a strictly instrumental work without connections to nonmusical materials. It is in three movements with the first the longest – almost 20 minutes length.  It introduces eight different themes which are then developed in a series of passages becoming more and more contrapuntal.  The passacaglia form is used in the second movement, and the brief final movement has a dense aggregation of typical Glass repeated phrases.

I didn’t find the work as compelling listening as most Glass works, seeming to stretch the minimalism to sometimes annoying lengths as heard in his early works. But hearing the familiar patterns orchestrated for a full symphony – and by one so skilled as this one – did add a level of interest.  There also would have surely been another recent Glass work which could have filled out this pop-length CD.

 – John Sunier

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