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Philip Glass: Music in 12 Parts

Philip Glass Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 17, 1996)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B000005J29
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #215,965 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Music In Twelve Parts: Part 1
2. Music In Twelve Parts: Part 2
3. Music In Twelve Parts: Part 3
4. Music In Twelve Parts: Part 4
5. Music In Twelve Parts: Part 5
Disc: 2
1. Music In Twelve Parts: Part 5 (conclusion)
2. Music In Twelve Parts: Part 6
3. Music In Twelve Parts: Part 7
4. Music In Twelve Parts: Part 8
Disc: 3
1. Music In Twelve Parts: Part 9
2. Music In Twelve Parts: Part 10
3. Music In Twelve Parts: Part 11
4. Music In Twelve Parts: Part 12

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Music of Warmly Hypnotic Repetitive Structures January 1, 2004
Format:Audio CD
The Philip Glass Ensemble was formed in 1968, because as Glass recalls, "I needed to have a consistent group of musicians to develop a new technical way of playing". "Music with Twelve Parts" was completed between the years 1971 and 1974. The work's compositional structure embodies all of the warmly hypnotic elements of Mr. Glass's new musical language. Indeed, early performances of the piece tested the ensemble player's physical and psychological perseverance.
This magisterial three-disc set was recorded over a period of four months, during the year 1993. Though there have been subtle changes in the personnel of Mr. Glass's ensemble over the years, there have now been close to twenty years of performance experience with the twelve individual sections of the work. Or as Glass puts it: "Now we know the language and we're fluent in it".
An epochal three hour and twenty-six minute work, "Music with Twelve Parts" is intended to be heard in one sitting, without distractions of any kind. Indeed, preparing a time and place for such an intensive immersion, in this day and age, can be seen to be a type of rarefied art work, all on its own. In 1968, as Glass fondly recalls, "it was easy to find people to listen to this music every Thursday night, because nobody had anything else to do anyway".
In early days of 2004, however, listening to this ecstatic work, with its systematic augmentation and contraction of harmony, is Glass's way of "making serious fun not only with other people, but with myself as well". "Music with Twelve Parts" is a compelling and original musical statement that will inspire earnest listeners for many years to come.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rigorous workout... March 29, 2000
Format:Audio CD
Most people think of 'minimalism', and they think the shorter bits one finds on "Glassworks". Uh-uh. This long-form cyclical work shows what the concept is _really_ about, as Glass's ensemble goes thru this multi-hour magnum opus. Very terse instrumentation here, as we're back in the mid-70s for this work, when Glass was using winds and electric keyboards (such as Farfisa organs, etc) in addition to unadorned voices in his trance-inducing loft concerts in the NYC art scene. Describing what this sounds like is hard; it's much easier to describe what listening to it will do to you. And what that is is that it induces a very trance-like state, as you get immersed in the seemingly-endless periodic structures. Most people call this music 'repetitive', but the fact is that there _is_ change going on, albeit exceedingly gradually. And the entertainment here is in the sonic equivalent of optical illusions that this early Glass music presents to the listener. It's like being trapped in a musical version of a 60s op-art moire pattern poster! And all that aside, it's also one of the key works (along with Steve Reich's "Music for 18 Musicians" and Terry Riley's "A Rainbow in Curved Air") from which the minimalism 'groundrules' sprang. Important.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A checklist before buying June 13, 2006
Format:Audio CD
In order to approach Philip Glass's Music in Twelve Parts, I recommend the following prerequisites:

1.) Make sure that you have enough money to purchase this extraordinary piece of music. While the three discs which make up this piece of music may tend to be categorized as "box set," in truth, this is no compilation of Philip Glass's greatest hits or rarities. Instead, what you receive is the singular, defining greatest 'hit' of Glass' repetoire.

2.) Set aside at least 3 hours and 26 minutes of your day to sit and listen to this piece of music uninterrupted as it will take at least that long to make it through all three discs. "Music In Twelve Parts" is a single piece of music, just like Mozart's "Requiem" or Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet," and while one is capable of listening to the individual parts out of sequence, doing so would ruin the intended effect of the piece of music as a whole.

3.) Listen with open ears and an open mind. One of the problems many people face when meeting Glass for the first time is that they are confronted in an ugly sort of way that Philip Glass does not sound like the traditional composers, like Beethoven, Debussy, or even Brahms, and he doesn't even sound atonal, like Boulez, Messiaen, or Schoenberg: many realize that Glass is in a category wholly removed from these composers, and they tend to not like it because they were expecting something else. I say this because not only was this my first perception of Glass, but it's also the same sort of response I meet in others, such as friends or family, when introducing them to the work of Philip Glass.

Glass' early work, especially Music in Twelve Parts is riddled with arpeggios.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as (but different than) the older recording March 11, 2005
Format:Audio CD
This is absolutely top-notch fantastic music.

It is as good as, but different than, the older recording of these pieces, in my opinion. The technology and performance virtuousity are improved over the original recording, but there is also some heart and soul lost, compared to the original.

In this regard it is similar to the newer recording of "Einstein on the Beach", compared to the original recording of that work.

Both the original and the newer one stand on their own, for different reasons, with different relative strengths and weaknesses.

I would definitely get both; I listen to both and enjoy both.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Holy cow this is boring
I love Philip Glass. I listened to the Koyaanisqatsi soundtrack for six months straight. I love Glassworks. I have several soundtracks and enjoy them all. Read more
Published on May 21, 2012 by Dan Steely
5.0 out of 5 stars The better of the two versions....
This is the original version of Philip Glass's magnum opus (well, one of many magnum opuses) Music in Twelve Parts. Read more
Published on March 30, 2008 by Grigory's Girl
5.0 out of 5 stars Headphone Commute Review
Orange Mountain Music, a label created by Kurt Munkacsi, producer of most Philip Glass recordings, re-[re]-releases a new recording of the classic Music In Twelve Parts as a set of... Read more
Published on January 20, 2008 by Headphone Commute
3.0 out of 5 stars 12 parts, 12 long parts
It takes a person with stamina to be able to listen to Music in 12 Parts in one or several sittings. I am not a musician so I can only peripherally enjoy the musicianship. Read more
Published on February 5, 2007 by mhouse
4.0 out of 5 stars Can get a bit dull, but well worth a listen.
I always seem to discover something new each time I put one of these discs in. Repetitive, mathematical, and frenetic. Great background music. Read more
Published on March 29, 2006 by Jason Merlo
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Two Masterpieces
Most composers are lucky to have one masterpiece; Philip Glass has the good fortune to have two: "Music in Twelve Parts" and "Einstein on the Beach."
Published on December 14, 2005 by Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars buy now
i think the problem most people have with this set, and minimalist music in general, is that they don't understand the function of repetition in it. Read more
Published on January 23, 2005 by me
5.0 out of 5 stars The Goldberg Variations of Glass
En cierto modo, Music in Twelve Parts podrían llamarse Las Variaciones Goldberg de Glass.
Si te gusta el Glass 'duro' de Einstein on the Beach, de seguro que esta... Read more
Published on July 17, 2003 by Henzo Alejandro Lafuente Ramos
5.0 out of 5 stars Kantian music/Form=Content
This is music without melody, Glass's repertoire of techniques at its most spare--just rhythmic pattern (in his signature arpeggiated chord) and rudimentary, stable harmony in... Read more
Published on February 4, 2002 by C. Gardner
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Early Philip Glass
First I should preface this review by saying that I much prefer the version on Virgin records which, I believe, is out of print. Read more
Published on November 23, 2001 by Metacortex
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