Cantaloupe continues its recording series of the masterworks of the music of our time with this brilliant disc of two early classics by composer Philip Glass, performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Glass is arguably minimalism's most well-known and influential composer. Before film soundtracks, operas, and universal acclaim, there were these intense, rugged, and demanding early works for keyboard. In Music in Fifths and Two Pages, Philip Glass's ideas are at their most basic, using only addition and subtraction of notes in simple scales to create epic and hypnotic musical forms.
The Bang on a Can All-Stars reconceive these works for their ground-breaking sound of clarinet, cello, bass, piano, marimba, and electric guitar. In the tradition of their award winning recording of Terry Riley's In C (#1 CD of 2001 by both the New York Times and the Washington Post), the musicality, passion, and focus of the All-Stars, plus the sparkling sound quality of the recording, catapult these classic works into the 21st century.
Music in Fifths (1969) is in "closed form" - a predetermined structure that ends when the accumulation of repetitions fill it out completely. Glass has always considered Music in Fifths a sort of teasing homage to [legendary pedagogue Nadia] Boulanger; it is written entirely in parallel fifths, a cardinal sin in the traditional counterpoint his teacher so carefully instructed.
Two Pages was written in 1967 or 1968. In this study in the elongation and subsequent contraction of a simple musical line, Glass explored what he called his technique of "additive process," derived from his work with Shankar, in its most skeletal manifestation.