- Orchestra: The Stuttgart State Opera Orchestra & Chorus
- Conductor: Dennis Russell Davies
- Composer: Philip Glass
- Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
- Number of Discs: 2
- Format: Box set
- Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
- Label: CBS Records
- ASIN: B0000026GR
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,133 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Glass: Akhnaten Box set
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Top Customer Reviews
Glass also explores both the controversial Oedipal and incestuous dimensions of the Pharaoh's rule, depicting his decay into a state of undifferentiated "familial" bliss using a vocalese-based musical language charged with pure emotion. Indeed, the whole opera uses music and langauge in amazing new ways, underscoring complex states of psychological being and various power relationships by contrasting languages and vocalese as well as intricate musical plotting. The fact that Akhnaten is scored for a countertenor is a stroke of genuis in itself, highlighting his almost alien nature as well as sexually controversial personality.
This opera hits at a primal level, and I cannot recommend this recording more highly. So many moments are charged with beauty, mystery, and power: the thundering funeral scene, the heartbreaking countertenor/soprano/contralto trio in the famous "Window of Appearances," the glorious Hymn to the Sun, the eerily beautiful "Family Scene," the climactic fall of Akhnaten.... simply wonderful.
I also recommend John Richardson's book about the opera, "Singing Archeology." Though somewhat overly academic in tone, it provides an invaluable key for understanding this incredible work.
I applaud both the Boston Lyric Opera and the Chicago Lyric Opera for bringing it back to American opera houses.
The discs are well-recorded, with the orchestra, large chorus, and soloists in excellent balance throughout. Of the three operas ("Einstein on the Beach" and "Satyagraha" are the predecessors), this one seems the most polished, and would probably be the best choice for those familiar with Glass from more accessible recordings, such as "Songs from Liquid Days" or "Itapu/The Canyon". In fact, the choral work of "Itapu" is reminiscent of "Akhnaten".
'Akhnaten' is a little miracle of minimalist opera. The orchestral scoring is for large orchestra minus violins (keeping his original opera small to fit in the orchestra pit at premiere gave that idea to Glass) with an interesting array of percussion instruments. The Prelude quietly sets the pulsating, quivering tone of ancient Egypt and after a narrator sets the scene for the death of Akhnaten's father, the funeral music is wildly percussive and full of brass figurations. The choral declarations are pulsatile and beautifully balanced with the orchestra.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have owned this music and opera for years, but on tape. Now, I have a CD for my collection. I use the words often. Read morePublished 10 months ago by R. S. Lillard
I heard a portion of this opera during an evening soiree of food and "bring your best music of any type to beguile us, or to trick us. Read morePublished 18 months ago by T. E. Layman
I've owned this CD for more than 20 years and would guess it's had the most play time of anything I own. Sometimes once a month, sometimes looping it all day at work. Read morePublished on September 3, 2012 by TRock
Akhnaten, Glass's powerful third opera, is set in the time of Ancient Egypt. The title role is reserved, strong and statuesque; this is an opera of historical ghosts, and its life-... Read morePublished on September 13, 2007 by Tanis
Glass's superb opera "Akhnaten" is a dramatic musical story of the reign of the Egyptian pharaoh Akhnaten, who sharply broke with a long tradition of idol worship and an entrenched... Read morePublished on March 25, 2007 by David B. Edmonston
The very idea of "minimalist" opera seems magically stillborn; fortunately, the orchestration (and no doubt the pageantry) of this piece are lush enough to render meaningless any... Read morePublished on June 12, 2006 by S. Gustafson
I have had the fortune of seeing this opera (Boston Conservatory of Music, 2004). The raw haunting nature of this music found me crying at the end of the performance when... Read morePublished on January 2, 2006 by Michael Spitz