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Glass: Kepler

Philip Glass , Soloists and Chorus of the Landestheater Linz , Bruckner Orchester Linz , Dennis Russell Davies Audio CD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Performer: Soloists and Chorus of the Landestheater Linz
  • Orchestra: Bruckner Orchester Linz
  • Conductor: Dennis Russell Davies
  • Composer: Philip Glass
  • Audio CD (February 8, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: ORANGE MOUNTAIN
  • ASIN: B004BUL554
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #184,830 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Act I - Prologue
2. I - Questions 1
3. II - Polyeder
4. III - Genesis
5. IV - Gryphius 1: Upon the Night
6. V - Physica Coelestis
7. VI - Gryphius 2
8. VII - Questions 2
9. VIII - Gryphius 3: Eyes. Optical Paradox
Disc: 2
1. ACT II - I - On Astrology
2. II - Gryphius IV: To the Stars
3. III - Hypotheses
4. IV - Gryphius 5: Tears of the Fatherland
5. V - Ephemerides
6. Epilogue

Editorial Reviews

Review

Glass always sets out on his musical journeys from the same place, and his score begins familiarly, with his trademark musical figures. But where he winds up is another story. Kepler is his most chromatic, complex, psychological score. I sense, on the American opera scene, a ho-hum attitude to Glass, based on the assumption that he always does the same thing. Most important companies have by now done one or maybe two (though, L.A., none) of his operas. The older works are favored over the new. Nothing is planned anywhere in the U.S. at the moment. Critics don t go out of their way to keep up. Europe pays more attention. Linz is a town of 200,000, and its performances of Kepler (which runs through early January) serve as a tourist attraction and sell out. Linz knows what we don t that Glass, following Kepler's lead, understands that there really may be a music of the spheres. Kepler is a wise, major opera. --Los Angeles Times 11-19-2009

Perhaps the most radical thing about Kepler is its presentation in front of a young, mostly secular and liberal audience in Brooklyn of a hero who is both genuinely scientific and genuinely religious. In our culture, today s great scientists are imagined to be wholly secular, even atheistic, which is simply not the case. The chorus sings, By Him, through Him, within Him is everything, and that everything includes Kepler s scientific discoveries as well as his prayers. And there s no sense that Mr. Glass has a problem with this or thinks that we in the 21st century have some better handle on the truth of the matter. There s something refreshing about the composer s willingness to depict a belief in God as meaningful and not a belief that s potentially hip like Taoism or Buddhism, but good, old-fashioned Lutheranism. Something that doesn t get said about Mr. Glass enough, but that may in the end be one of the real distinctions between him and other composers popular with a contemporary, liberal audience, is that he always gives religious belief its due, without condescension. It s one of the many pleasures of his surprisingly moving new opera, which will hopefully return to New York soon, perhaps alongside Galileo. --New York Observer 11-24-2010

Product Description

Philip Glass' opera from 2009 explores the life of scientist Johannes Kepler though a series of dramatic scenes with two hours of Glass' music. Kepler in many ways hearkens back to Glass' portrait operas of the early 1980s and continues the composers interest in scientists after having also written operas on Einstein and Galileo. The opera premiered at the Landestheater Linz in 2009 as part of Linz 09, the European Cultural Capital, and continues the amazing 30 year collaboration between Glass and the conductor Dennis Russell Davies, the music director of both the Landestheater Linz and its orchestra, the Bruckner Orchester Linz who has also recorded Glass' music extensively for the Orange Mountain Music label including Glass Symphonies 6, 7, and 8, and Glass' large scale opera The Voyage which was originally written for the Metropolitan Opera. Kepler is a refreshing return to large scale symphonic writing for the opera house. Recent Glass operas including Waiting for the Barbarians and Appomattox carry more dialogue and intimate narrative scenes whereas Kepler is a musical dedication to the life of this great scientists - triumphs and human flaws. As Glass states: "Kepler was a man with his mind in the clouds and his feet in the mud." This Orange Mountain Music recording was made in 2010 from live performances during its extensive run in Linz, and is the world premiere recording. Kepler is sung in German and Latin and contains the full libretto with English translation in the deluxe two disc digipack.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new "Portrait Opera" by Philip Glass April 2, 2011
When I first heard that Philip Glass was writing an opera on Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) for Linz, it was clear that the opera was designed to honor one of this Austrian city's most famous residents. I further presumed that Glass would entwine Kepler's fight for scientific truth with his mother's trial for witchcraft. But that turned out not to be Glass's intent. Kepler's mother is never mentioned in this 2009 opera. Other issues are at stake here.

As in his first trio of "great men" works, this is a portrait opera, not a narrative drama. There is of course a narrative thread through the opera, though in word and mood only, not in action. This kind of drama, with all talk and no action, is very hard to stage. Indeed, when it was performed in New York City, it was given as a concert opera. Perhaps oratorio would be a better word. The Kepler character's alternation with the chorus and an ensemble of soloists recalls religious services in the call and response or antiphonal format. In turn these sections at various points alternate with choral settings of poems by Andreas Gryphius (1616-64). The oratorio-like format works perfectly as a means of getting into the mind of a person, like many others of his time, who understood his scientific inquiry as a contribution both to knowledge about and to the glory of his God: the more he could learn about the workings of nature, especially planetary orbits, the more he would understand about nature's Creator, and the closer he would feel to his God.

In the libretto by Martina Winkel, Kepler is featured in eight of the opera's segments, providing a succinct summary of his achievements, only some of which we might today consider "scientific.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Detractors can go elsewhere, GLASS RULES!!!! September 2, 2011
A few of the other reviews were saying that KEPLER is just the same old recycled Glass. I've been a Glass fan since the mid-80's and I guess I must have really drunk a million gallons of the Glass Kool-Aid, because I find KEPLER beautiful, powerful, and unique. While Glass may use the same techniques as filler here and there, many of the different sections of KEPLER are unlike any other Glass. For instance, the ending of the third track on Disc 1 is worth the price of admission itself! I've listened to this a thousand times already. The ending piece of the work, Track 6 on Disc 2 is a blast to listen to on the car stereo with the windows rolled down through downtown, LOL! KEPLER is a great work and I'm looking forward to attending a performance of KEPLER at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC in June 2012. I love Philip Glass and naysayers can shove it! LOL!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Kepler by Philip Glass January 1, 2014
Verified Purchase
This opera is beautifully performed by the Landestheater Linz. I always keep this CD set at hand--it never gets put back in my collection.
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11 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars We've heard this so many times before - why bother March 24, 2011
By G. Bell
There is a reason why Philip Glass's new operas are greeted with yawns. We've heard it pretty much before. Triads, three notes up, three down, scales, up and down, long mono-note vocal lines. I'm sure there are some people who can distinguish one of his, I think it is, 28 operas from one another but I'm getting hard pressed. Sections yes, but the basic music seems the same damn thing over and over again. This one goes back to the store. I'm lucky I live in San Francisco where I can take the music back for 75% credit.

Our Vivaldi - most everything sounds the same - does have work that I enjoy. Try Glassnotes, violin concerto, Einstein on the Beach is great for when I am cleaning the house, and Itaipu packs a wallop if you sit down, pay attention to it to the end. This may be fine for first time folk but I was bored, bored, bored.
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2 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Recycled Glass August 9, 2011
By Roland
This is another instance of Glass reusing his music. It all sounds too similar to other operas and other compositions, which is true for a lot of his music. I know its good to recycle, but thats for when you are done using a can of Pepsi. Philip Glass has made the error of recycling himself!
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