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Glass: Einstein on the Beach Box set


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Audio CD, Box set, January 17, 2012
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: The Philip Glass Ensemble
  • Conductor: Michael Riesman
  • Composer: Philip Glass, Robert Wilson
  • Audio CD (January 17, 2012)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • 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: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B000005J28
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,027 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Einstein On The Beach: Knee 1
2. Einstein On The Beach: Train 1
3. Einstein On The Beach: Trial 1: Entrance
4. Einstein On The Beach: Trial 1: 'Mr. Bojangles'
5. Einstein On The Beach: Trial 1: 'All Men Are Equal'
6. Einstein On The Beach: Knee 2
Disc: 2
1. Einstein On The Beach: Dance 1
2. Einstein On The Beach: Night Train
3. Einstein On The Beach: Knee 3
4. Einstein On The Beach: Trial 2 - Prison: 'Prematurely Air-Conditioned Supermarket'
5. Einstein On The Beach: Trial 2 - Prison: Ensemble
6. Einstein On The Beach: Trial 2 - Prison: 'I Feel The Earth Move'
Disc: 3
1. Einstein On The Beach: Dance 2
2. Einstein On The Beach: Knee 4
3. Einstein On The Beach: Building
4. Einstein On The Beach: Bed: Cadenza
5. Einstein On The Beach: Bed: Prelude
6. Einstein On The Beach: Bed: Aria
See all 8 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Glass's career-making 1976 opera, a collaboration with avant-garde impresario Robert Wilson, was revolutionary then, revered now. This "properly hypnotic" 1996 recording, says the Washington Post, is "more complete than the first recording and superior in both performance and sound." Widely credited as one of the greatest artistic achievements of the 20th century, this rarely performed opera in four acts is touring the world in 2012, nearly four decades after it was first performed and twenty years since its last production.

Amazon.com

Although Einstein on the Beach is by definition an opera, Philip Glass's most famous work also transcends traditional music categories. Glass avoided all vestiges of plot in the piece and dug deep into his quiver of repetitions to create an artfully unnerving five hours of brilliance. The instrumental ensemble never exceeds five members, playing electric keyboards, saxophones, flutes, and a single violin. Furthermore, the music congregates around the upper registers, often darting through its loops at seemingly incredible paces. The chorus bears huge chops, creating a dense, if silkenly staccato, series of juts, and a powerful array of higher-register annunciations that ring with the aural power of leaping, blurring filaments. This 1993 version of Einstein truly supersedes its predecessors, stretching to around 190 minutes over three CDs. There is a strong current of postmodern collage throughout the piece, with rafts of pop culture references. But Einstein, after all, is indeed based loosely on Albert Einstein and ends with booming allusions to nuclear annihilation and mathematics. --Andrew Bartlett

Customer Reviews

"Einstein on the beach" was my first introduction to the music of Glass.
Music Matt
The "opera" itself is truly one of the most incredible pieces of music you're ever likely to hear, and with every listen it only grows more so.
Scott D. Cudmore
The combination of the visuals and the music exponentially raises the emotional and visceral level of the experience to a transcedent level.
"cloverlawn"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

93 of 97 people found the following review helpful By new music guy on April 2, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Presumably, if you're reading this, you're shopping for one of the two Einstein on the Beach recordings and trying to pick between the two. This is a VASTLY superior disc. The improvement in synthesizer capabilities in the decades between the earlier recording and this one are notable from the beginning of Disc 1, Track 1. The organs here as a result have a warmer, fuller sound. Recording technology also improved, and the overall result is better tone, better clarity. Fulkerson's violin playing is more soulful than Zukovsky's, and his huge sound is far more appropriate in much of the passagework. There is far greater accuracy and superior tone and clarity throughout in the other instruments as well, in particular the piccolos, and the choir here is simply better. Finally, the price tag is somewhat less discouraging.
If you like Einstein on the Beach, absolutely get this recording. If you are curious about Philip Glass and want a representative sample of his best music, absolutely get this recording.
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78 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Richard Morgan on July 10, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Einstein on the Beach is hardcore Philip Glass with its frenzied (and repetitive) pace, nonsensical poems, and exhaustive length. While this opera helped propel his fame, I would not recommend diving into it if you are looking for an introduction to what Philip Glass writes. Personally, I discovered and grew to love this music through the compilation CD, Songs from the Trilogy. It is cheaper than any recording of these three operas and lets you hear the best of what they have to offer. Of the three, I think Einstein on the Beach is the most difficult to appreciate and even after purchasing, it sat on my shelf. Yet, over time, I begin to hear more than the "One, two, three" and violins sawing away: there's a delicate sound beneath it all. Akhnaten and Satyagraha have this quality as well, but it's easier to hear at first listening. So if you're a casual Philip Glass listener, be prepared to not like Einstein at first because it is so much different than his more recent releases.
For die-hard Glass fans, this recording is the longer (and cheaper) of the two available. If you enjoy his Music in Twelve Parts and other earlier works, this opera is a real treat. Since Einstein is such a monumental piece in the Glass library, it's a must buy. But if you're looking for something less hardcore, try Songs from the Trilogy. I gave five stars because when compared to other music, it's still awe-inspiring, but when compared to other Philip Glass music, especially the other two operas, it rates three stars.
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By cardboardmusicbox on August 6, 2006
Format: Audio CD
This is a budget-priced reissue of the original CBS Records Masterworks release, which contains the original booklet with libretto and copious liner notes. The only differences are the cover artwork and price. Definitely a complete and utter steal! If you're at all curious about Einstein on the Beach, this is a must purchase.

4-CD set packaged in jewel case with slip cover.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By P. Couture on February 25, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I seem to be in the minority, but I prefer the original recording. What this version gains in performance and sonics, it loses in bite and immediacy. I came to Glass from rock music. The earlier recording had attitude and human energy. This one is fine art. I guess it depends what you're in the mood to hear.

The text has been altered quite a bit. I can live with everything except the new "Mr. Bojangles"; for some reason, Glass decided that the speaker should EMOTE in an odd self-conscious way. It doesn't work. The deadpan humor is gone.

The new sax line in "Building" (formerly "Building/Train") seems to have wandered in from a different universe. We're zooming through a mathematical soundworld ... and there's Kenny G. This piece has been extensively revised. The old version suggested a train at full throttle. This version is much slower, with muted organ and a meditative vibe.

The "Bed" aria is technically flawless (a definite "improvement"), but it doesn't have the plaintive, haunting feel of the first recording. This singer has a strong, formal, "operatic" style.

Someone was wondering why the earlier version was a 4-CD set. The reason is, it was originally a 4-LP box. At the time, 4 vinyl records meant 4 shiny compact discs. CDs were still a strange new medium for rich people. It took a while for the public to demand longer discs and lower prices.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Scott D. Cudmore on June 24, 2000
Format: Audio CD
After all is said and done, I guess I would probably say that this 1993 recording of 'Einstein on the Beach' is the better recording. It's difficult though, because there are definately things I like more about the original recording, such as the colder recitation of 'These Are the Days' in the first Knee Play. Overall though, this one is probably better. It is about 38 minutes longer, and the ending is in tact, which is important. The ending of the original was good...but perhaps a little abrubt. Anyhow, this album feels more organic, more refined, and this is it's strongest point. The "opera" itself is truly one of the most incredible pieces of music you're ever likely to hear, and with every listen it only grows more so. I wish everybody would give this music a chance. Sadly, most people I've played it for tend to dismiss it immediately. It's difficult, but it's brilliant.
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