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Philip Glass: The Complete Piano Etudes / Maki Namekawa, piano

Album Summary

>Glass, Philip : Etudes for piano, Vol. 1
>Glass, Philip : Etudes for piano, Vol. 2
Performer Composer

Notes & Reviews:

In 1994, Philip Glass began work on a series of short compositions designed to hone his skills at the keyboard. Two decades in the making, the result was an anthology comprising twenty exquisite Etudes that stands both as a monument to Glass’s deeply personal relationship with the piano and as embodiment of his evolving style. This two-disc set of the complete Etudes featuring Maki Namekawa (in her solo recording début) contains the world première recording of the recently completed second book of etudes (Nos.11-20).

American Record Guide, March/April 2015
Thank you, Philip Glass, for continuing to play solo piano concerts, which means that you had the incentive to write for pianists everywhere this amazing set of 20 etudes (two books of 10 each). Each is a lovely miniature that explores classic and sometimes-not-so classic combinations of rhythmic pattern, economical voice leading, and tonal-sounding harmonies that often evoke 19th Century originals. They're also expressively varied, running through the large number of moods that Glass has used so effectively in film and opera. Ms Namekawa has probably performed some of these etudes many times and is the ideal interpreter for them.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Musiktheater am Volksgarten, Linz, Austria.

The 20 etudes of Philip Glass, composed between 1994 and 2013, were not a single set. They fall into two books of ten, with subgroupings within each arising at different times in response to a variety of commissions. Yet they work well as a set, with the harmonic language, as in Glass' compositions in other media, expanding as his career developed; the middle of the second set provides a sort of climax, and the final etude of the set is the longest one and the one with the most explicit goal of transcendence. Their musical language is not fundamentally different from that of Glass in general, but it is concentrated as a piano will do. Recordings of Glass' music on his own Orange Mountain Music label are generally of high quality, but pianist Maki Namekawa achieves unusually idiomatic Glass readings here: this music requires the sort of clarity that brings out the polyphony in the composer's music and the play of overtones and sonorities that evolves from it, and that's just what you get from Namekawa. Glass himself has recorded some of these works, but this is one of those cases where a specialist achieves better results than the composer. Recommended for those curious about Glass and the piano, or even for those looking for a concise introduction to the composer's later style. ~ James Manheim



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Works Details

>Glass, Philip : Etudes for piano, Vol. 1
  • Performer: Maki Namekawa (Piano)
  • Running Time: 60 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1994-2001

>Glass, Philip : Etudes for piano, Vol. 2
  • Performer: Maki Namekawa (Piano)
  • Running Time: 61 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2004-2014