Lisa Moore

Philip Glass: Mad Rush

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New York-based Australian pianist Lisa Moore sets out here to deliver a sampling of Philip Glass' keyboard music, focusing on some lesser-known but interesting items. The booklet note by Richard Guérin is a bit opaque; it describes Moore as attempting a "'historically' informed interpretation," but her performances are a good deal less free in regard to tempo and more abstractly monumental than Glass' own. The sequence of pieces is the strong point. Moore begins with the title track, from 1979, representing the early, minimalist Glass. The rest of the album, with the exception of the Etude No. 2 (track 7), has links to Glass' theatrical or incidental music and serves as a nice lens through which to contemplate how the changes in Glass' musical language as his career progressed were dramatically inspired. The five-movement Metamorphosis (1988) is derived from music for a theatrical version of Franz Kafka's story of that name ("As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic bug"), and here Glass' music becomes not more melodic but more gestural, a key to its later development. The Satyagraha Conclusion, Act III (from about the same time as Mad Rush) and especially the Closing, from Glass' music for Paul Schrader's film about the suicidal Japanese writer Yukio Mishima, ramp up the tension to a higher level, and the entire program has a satisfying arc. The sound, recorded at the pop performance space Firehouse 12 in New Haven, is an excellent fit for Moore's dry, big style and typifies the attention to sonics often noted with Glass' own Orange Mountain Music label. An important find for Glass fans.

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