The Philip Glass Ensemble Releases World Premiere Recording of Music in Eight Parts

May 14, 2020

 

"a superb production" - Forbes

 

The Philip Glass Ensemble announces the world premiere recording of Philip Glass’s Music in Eight Parts (1970) to be released on Orange Mountain Music on May 22, 2020. Performed a handful of times in 1970, the manuscript of the piece went missing until the score was rediscovered at Christie’s Auction House in New York City in late 2017. Fifty years later, it has been realized for the Philip Glass Ensemble, recorded by the members of the ensemble remotely in April 2020. Listeners can pre-order the album now. 

 

In early 2018 the score was obtained by Glass’s publishers, Dunvagen Music Publishers. Alex Gray, music assistant at the publishing company, thought it would be interesting to realize the work for the instrumentation of the Philip Glass Ensemble: woodwinds, keyboard, and voice. As part of Gray’s research, he copied the score, made a synthesized demo of the piece, and he wrote a thesis on the project. 

 

The PGE was scheduled to perform the work across Europe in 2020 and record it in the traditional way, but because of cancellations and safety concerns due to the coronavirus pandemic, they adapted their plans.

Throughout the month of April 2020, the parts were recorded individually by the members at home, and assembled by Michael Riesman in his home studio in Manhattan. The recording was produced by Lisa Bielawa, Richard Guérin, and Riesman and features artwork by artist Sol LeWitt, frequent collaborator of Glass’s including works like DANCE from 1979.

 

The Times UK calls Music in Eight Parts “an exhilarating technical triumph...there’s nothing dry about this powerful and propulsive performance”, and Pizzicato says “The result is excellent and the expertly played music gets an almost magnetic power.”

 

Music in Eight Parts was composed right in the middle of Glass’s Minimalist period, which Glass defines in his music as existing from 1965 to 1975 – up to and including his opera Einstein on the Beach (1975-76). These largely theoretical pieces such as Music in Similar Motion (1969), Music in Fifths (1969), Music with Changing Parts (1970) all led to Glass’s seminal compendium Music in Twelve Parts (1971-74.) 

 

Album credits for Music in Eight Parts:

 

Lisa Bielawa, voice
Peter Hess, tenor and soprano saxophones
Michael Riesman, keyboard
Mick Rossi, keyboard
Andrew Sterman, soprano saxophone

Produced, mixed, and mastered: Michael Riesman at Studio D, New York

Producers for Music in Eight Parts: Richard Guérin and Lisa Bielawa

Executive Producers for Orange Mountain Music: Philip Glass, Don Christensen, and Kurt Munkacsi

 

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