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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phillip Glass is an absolute GENIUS!
I first heard this opera live from the Met in 2008 while riding in my car. I had to stop and just listen. I was transfixed!(trancefixxed sp?) This version is awesome. Liner notes are scant but this music is incredible. Minimalism? I beg to disagree. Tis a full-meal deal. I was able to get a libretto on the Met's website. Try it with good headphones. You'll certainly...
Published on April 15, 2010 by Gregory Zarlengo

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Only recording, but essential nonetheless
As with so many modern operas, we're left with only one recording, re-released ad infinitum. Sometimes we must be thankful any recordings of them exist at all. As a Glass enthusiast, I am glad that this recording existed. Since 1984 this recording has captured the transcendency of this work and has helped introduce it to generations of new opera lovers. However, it is...
Published on November 26, 2011 by sexlessape


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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phillip Glass is an absolute GENIUS!, April 15, 2010
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This review is from: Glass: Satyagraha (Audio CD)
I first heard this opera live from the Met in 2008 while riding in my car. I had to stop and just listen. I was transfixed!(trancefixxed sp?) This version is awesome. Liner notes are scant but this music is incredible. Minimalism? I beg to disagree. Tis a full-meal deal. I was able to get a libretto on the Met's website. Try it with good headphones. You'll certainly find youself in a different space. Even opera-haters might warm-up to this one. Who knows?
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely opera/inadequate information, November 17, 2009
By 
William S. Levison (Valdosta, GA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Glass: Satyagraha (Audio CD)
I first heard this minimalist opera broadcast live from Lyric Opera of Chicago with virtually the same cast as this recording. Thankfully, the broadcast host was able to provide a great deal of information about the complex nature of the composition; it is sung in Sanskrit, and the words don't correspond to the action on stage. The bad new first: there is absolutely no information about the opera or recording in the included booklet, other than the cast and a thoroughly useless "summary" of each scene. Now the good news: this reissue is almost certainly the best (if only) recording this beautiful work will ever have. Most highly recommended for those willing to do a little research.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Soaring, August 4, 2010
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This review is from: Glass: Satyagraha (Audio CD)
I bought this and the recording of akhnaten on the strength of the recordings on Philip Glass: Songs from the Trilogy.

I already knew Einstein on the Beach, and liked much of it. It was the pieces from Satyagraha and Akhnaten that really moved me. I have no regrets. The sound on both recordings is excellent. There is one common disappointment with both CDs, they both have limited liner notes. An oratorio in an ancient language would benefit from more explanation. That said, the music is stellar.

Satyagraha doesn't disappoint. The recording is intense and precise. This is a work largely carried by the voices, and the vocalists are excellent! The score is the foundation and roiling sea behind which the voices unfold, caress, and soar. Like Akhnaten this bridges Glass' earlier ensemble work and his later orchestral work. Where Akhnaten is closer in timbre to his later symphonies, Satyagraha incorporates the organ and some styles more recognizable from 'Einstein on the beach' and his other ensemble work, to great effect.

One of Philip Glass most powerful compositions. Definitely a favorite of mine now.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Only recording, but essential nonetheless, November 26, 2011
This review is from: Glass: Satyagraha (Audio CD)
As with so many modern operas, we're left with only one recording, re-released ad infinitum. Sometimes we must be thankful any recordings of them exist at all. As a Glass enthusiast, I am glad that this recording existed. Since 1984 this recording has captured the transcendency of this work and has helped introduce it to generations of new opera lovers. However, it is time for a new recording to enter the scene.

This recording definitely conveys the power of this great work, but it lacks the spirituality that it at the core of the opera's message. At points in this recording Keene establishes tempi that are much too quick and rush through musical transitions that need more time for the ears to digest. Frequently his interpretation is much too monotonous; the beauty of Glass lies in the undulating interaction between the soloists, orchestra, performers, and conductors. Keene falls short and often falls slave to an uninterruptible rhythm. With Glass it is easy for a conductor to become but a metronome, and this work benefits from a conductor that is less mechanical. Not to mention the synth is mixed in way too loud compared to the symphonic instrumentation.

If you have never heard this work, by all means purchase this recording and introduce yourself to its power.

That said, with the Met having performed an HD broadcast of the excellent interpretation of Richard Croft whose subtle rubato and variations in tempi cause simple scales to ascend into beauty, replays are available in theaters, hopefully a forthcoming DVD, and of course the satellite broadcasts. The Keene recording is a benchmark and a very important piece of history. This recording is a very accurate presentation of this important work.

It lacks spirit; seek out the Met performances to truly experience a transcendent interpretation of one of the most seminal works of 20th century opera.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars glass and Gandhi making life better, September 25, 2010
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This review is from: Glass: Satyagraha (Audio CD)
I saw this at Lincoln Center. I always admired Glass, but after seeing this live, it changed my life. Quite possibly the most important thing I've even given money for, and, therefore, had to have a copy of it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars music is great but the sound quality is fair to good, May 1, 2011
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This review is from: Glass: Satyagraha (Audio CD)
music is some of the best by Philip Glass. But this recording lacks depth in sound, sometimes strident, as if a copy of a copy. Is it?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Spiritual Experience, December 5, 2011
By 
Bill C. (Eastern Virginia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Glass: Satyagraha (Audio CD)
I am a recent Glass fan, having only recently, in 2010, heard any of his music (other than the film Koyannisquatsi back in the 80s). An instructor in a painting workshop I took played Glass' Solo Piano album while we painted, and I was enthralled. It's still my favorite of his, that is, until I saw Satyagraha a couple of weeks ago on the Met HD big screen at my local theatre.

I have been an opera lover since the 70s, and am very traditional in my likes and dislikes. I love the bel canto and other Italian, French and German 19th-20th century works, Puccini, Verdi, Donizetti, Wagner, Strauss etc -- the traditional operas. I've also very much enjoyed Shoenberg's music, and Weill's as well.

But I was really not prepared to like Glass's opera, because I am so traditional in my opera favorites.

Well, I was just blown away. I'm not musically educated formally, so I can't explain why I loved it, or which things about it I loved, except to say that the experience in the theatre for me felt very holistic, in that I felt surrounded and held, cradled almost, by a sea of music, which swept me along with it. I've felt this sensation for various parts of the traditional operas I'm familiar with, being emotionally swept away in a beautiful passage, like any other music fan. But Glass's opera swept me completely out to sea from the very first note, and I didn't touch the shore again till it was over-- it was absolutely amazing.

I immediately afterward bought this NYC Opera's CD version, which for me almost exactly reproduces the holistic experience I felt in the theatre, and I highly recommend it.

In addition to the music, the Met outdid itself with the staging, costuming, and choreography, all the areas that they are so good act. It was just a very complete esthetic experience.

Unfortunately, the only DVD extant, from the Stuttgart opera I believe, gets very bad reviews for the bad video, so the NYC CD is perhaps the best choice for listening, and it really is a wonderful recreation of the music.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As a Glass Fan, March 1, 2013
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This review is from: Glass: Satyagraha (Audio CD)
Although I am an avid fan of Philip Glass, I had never listened to this soundtrack. I recently watched the Metropolitan broadcast of Satyagraha on PBS and fell instantly in love. I have since been listening to this CD constantly and I am always discovering new parts to fall in love with. Of course this music is not to everyone's taste but as a longtime fan I was surprised at how different, fresh and beautiful this piece is while still being everything that I love about Philip Glass's work. Start to finish I find it an easy listen all the way through; very melodic and beautifully haunting at times.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good effort, October 11, 2012
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This review is from: Glass: Satyagraha (Audio CD)
Years ago I bought a recording of Satyagraha at a yard sale on LP. I was not familiar with the piece, and knew little about Glass at the time. It initially struck me as a curious and unusual work, one which I came to love over time. I've since seen the Met's live performance twice and once more at their HD broadcast. This version is a very similar interpretation to the older CBS recording in tempo and execution, but with slightly poorer sound quality. I'm glad that I bought it, but perhaps because of familiarity still prefer the CBS recording.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating work, but the packaging is a travesty, May 23, 2012
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This review is from: Glass: Satyagraha (Audio CD)
The first question one asks when encountering this CD reissue is why, exactly, Sony gives it three discs instead of two. Yes, it is an opera in three parts, and to fit it onto two CDs one would have to divide part 2, but you could have divided it any way you want. Oh well, I can hardly make that any big issue. A much more serious drawback is the lack of libretto. We get a synopsis in three languages, but that is not enough. In fact, we do not get a single word on the music either, nor on the composer or any of the performers - you would expect that even for a budget reissue.

So what about the music? Satyagraha was composed in 1979, loosely based on the life of Mohandas Gandhi. It is a good example of a minimalist opera; the music is repetitive, usually straightforwardly tonal and with simple themes, which makes the well-planned changes and juxtapositions very effective. In fact, the overall effect is quite hypnotic at times and the cumulative effect is indeed powerful. Satyagraha is also an opera that works very well as an auditory experience (or it would have if we had been given the libretto). Each scene appears to illustrate a single set and mood, and the most obviously effective and immediately striking parts are found in Act two.

That said, Satyagraha is much more uncompromising and dry than, say, the CIVIL warS - the latter, which is more obviously colorful and extravagant, would, I think, appeal to anyone whereas Satyagraha does require some affinity with Glass's brand of minimalism. The performances strike me as overall excellent, especially the important choral parts, though one could, perhaps, sometimes come to suspect that the Orchestra of New York City Opera is somewhat unsure about the idiom and sometimes tend to approach it as a traditional, classical opera score. The sound is a little dry but overall very good. In sum, then, this is a recommendable performance of a fascinating work, even if it is not the work I would recommend to newcomers to minimalism or Philip Glass. The main drawback - and it is a deeply serious one - is the presentation. As with Sony's Opera House series in general the packaging looks cheap and boring, and the absence of a libretto or information about the music is unforgivable.
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Glass: Satyagraha
Glass: Satyagraha by Philip Glass (Audio CD - 2009)
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