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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
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
We have to understand this physicist lived in a pivotal period in Europe. He was born in 1571 and died in 1630, very exactly twelve years after the beginning of the 30 Years’ War in 1618 that was to end in 1648. On the other hand Gryphius was born in 1616 and died in 1664 and he lived his whole childhood and youth in the middle of this war. This pivotal period was centered in Germany around this long war between the Catholics and the Protestants. We have to understand that such religious wars were long and brutal in France, just the same in Germany and at the same time they were the main stake of the English Civil War and Puritan revolution, after having been the main stake under Henry VIII, his son Edward II, his daughter Mary I and his second daughter Elizabeth I. For at least three quarters of a century or even one full century the conflict between the Catholics and the Protestants went on without any visible reconciliation possible.
It is though in this very period that science really started sprouting genuine buds and set its first concepts on the table.Read more ›
On Christmas Eve, 2014, not having bought much music that year, I decided to treat myself so I ordered seven Philip Glass pieces. One of them was __Kepler:__ an opera. The CDs arrived a few days after Christmas that year. At that stage, I owned more than 100 CDs with Philip Glass music, which is why I decided I wanted to write a review. (Please note that I don't have a musical background, so this is not a technical review.)
Johannes Kepler was a 17th century astronomer: a controversial person, whose greatest contribution is his __Laws of Planetary Motion.__ Kepler lived part of his life in Linz, where he taught mathematics. Writing about the work in his notes on the programme, Dennis Russell Davies points out that __Kepler__ is ``not about biographical details'' but instead about ``the fundamental questions that [the man] Kepler was obsessed with, and which he hoped __scientific principles__ could answer'' (emphasis by reviewer).
The opera was composed for the Upper Austrian State Theater and __Linz09,__ celebrating Linz's being The European Capital of Culture in 2009.
__Kepler,__ the package, comes with 2 CDs and a booklet with libretto, bios, and credits. At the time of writing I must have played the work some 10--15 times. It is a wonderful, mesmerising, dynamic, rhythmic, and __swinging__ piece of work. I consider it a great contribution.
Martina Winkel wrote the libretto. Not surprisingly, Dennis Russell Davies conducted the piece.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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.Published on January 1, 2014 by Fabric Nut
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. Read morePublished on August 9, 2011 by Roland