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GLASS: Symphony No. 4, 'Heroes' / The Light

Composer(s):Glass, Philip
Artist(s) Alsop, Marin, Conductor • Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period(s) Contemporary
Genre Classical Music
Category Orchestral
Catalogue 8.559325
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
Download and Stream

Although he remains best known for the works he wrote for his own ensemble, orchestral music has been at the forefront of Philip Glass’ activities for much of the last two decades. Having achieved success in 1993 with his Low Symphony, a reworking of David Bowie and Brian Eno’s classic rock album Low, three years later Glass repeated the experiment with another Bowie/Eno collaboration, Heroes, an album that drew its inspiration from the then-divided city of Berlin. The six movements of Heroes Symphony function as independent pieces that between them build into a self-sufficient musical work. The Light has its inspiration in a very different source: the Michelson-Morley experiment confirming the uniform speed of light. Seeking a musical corollary, Glass’ piece has an expressive


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Review By Penguin Guide,January 2009

With a long way Philip Glass has come between composing The Light in 1987 and the Heroes Symphony in 1996. The former is inspired by Einstein’s discovery of the ‘uniform speed of light’ and is an undulating, minimalist piece, with changing orchestration eventually leading to a ‘transformation’ of the initial motive and a final cessation of the pulsing. It lasts for 24 minutes and some listeners may find it difficult to stay the course. The Heroes Symphony, however, has six movements (chosen from ten) to make a varied but fairly cohesive structural whole with attractive and changing invention and imaginative scoring and percussive detail to match the character of the six named sections. Glass moves from Arabic exoticism to the


Review By ,Scherzo,April 2008


Review By Ian_Dando,New Zealand Listener,May 2007

Philip Glass is a minimalist in a rut. His style has changed little in the past 25 years. As the most financially successful classical composer alive, Glass is often criticised as facile and, at best, insidiously effective as in his Heroes Symphony (1996), which has its ups in the two outer movements and downs in some of the inner ones. Rather than a symphony, the 46-minute Heroes is more a suite of six independent pieces recycled from the David Bowie/Brian Eno rock album collaboration. His 24-minute The Light is a fine tone poem depicting the Michelson/Morley experiment confirming the uniform speed of light. This is Glass in full flight, with an aural illusion of the work speeding up yet retaining a constant pulse throughout the work’s lively


Review By Greg Barns,The Mercury (Tasmania, Australia),March 2007

Philip Glass is a composer who can win over an audience that might not otherwise listen to a traditional classical music concert. His Heroes Symphony is based on themes taken from the David Bowie and Brian Eno 1977 album of the same name. It is lush and colourful music, with signature Glass rhythms. Alsop controls the Bournemouth Orchestra well and is clearly at home with Glass’ minimalism. The Light is a shorter piece but equally rich in sound, as it undulates and curves.

Review By David Denton, Naxos,April 2007

Philip Glass will find a place in history as the first dedicated Minimalist composer, his music creating a whole new era of repetitive music that he more aptly described as 'motoric Romanticism'. His educational background was one that embraced mathematics, philosophy and music, the latter both in the States and in France. His exposure to the metric rhythm patterns of Indian music was the catalyst that eventually manifested itself in the minimalism regime. Initially using a small group of musicians with amplified instruments, he later moved to works for large symphony orchestras. His massive output has been questioned, but he remains a cult figure in an uncertain musical world. The Light is a work of pure minimalism inspired by the scientific affirmation of the



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