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I Like Philip Glass, Really

More and more I find myself drawn to a particular composer named Philip Glass. For musical aficionados, his name is probably very well known, but for the rest of us there's a very good chance the only time we came in contact with him was through the music to the movie Truman Show.

Philip Glass is a guy who intrigues me very much. His music is nothing you can listen to in the background; it takes a very determined and piqued mind to sit down and enjoy his music; but if you know what to listen for, it is very well worth it.

The music he writes seems mostly to be built from the ground up by certain primitive musical elements; like a sequence of notes, or a pattern, which is repeated continuously throughout the piece. These musical primitives are exactly what they sound like: primitive. The enjoyment of the piece, comes, then, not from the primitives themselves, but rather how they are individually combined into a full-scale harmony. By piecing these elementary primitives together, Philip Glass designs a harmonic synthesis where the beauty lies in the variations and combinations of the elements, and how nothing is sacred enough to go under his variative design: even the time changes, like in Satyagraha: Evening Song, where it starts out in 4/4 and then suddenly and counter-intuitively changes with the song element to 6/4; or in Truman Show: Anthem, where it continuously switches between 5/8 and 7/8. These changes are very harmonically woven into the music, so it is sometimes rather difficult to spot them; all you realize is that when you're going along stomping the beat, you suddenly drop out of sync and you have no idea what happened.

Of course there's a lot of other music I listen too as well. Sometimes my mind craves the emotional stirrings of movie scores (Gladiator, Pearl Harbor) which my cousin Stefan feels is little more than elevator music; sometimes I go for the music to the Muppet Show (Scrooge, Sailing For Adventure) and similar items which always seem to astound my friends; but more and more, as I said, I'm starting to enjoy Philip Glass. The guy's a genius.

I may even go out and buy a CD. How about that?


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