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Glass: Organ Works

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 14, 1993
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  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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20:32
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10:40
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24:25
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12:06
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Product Details

  • Performer: Donald Joyce
  • Composer: Philip Glass
  • Audio CD (September 14, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Alliance
  • Run Time: 77 minutes
  • ASIN: B000003EL3
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #273,420 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kevin Currie-Knight VINE VOICE on July 29, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This CD is an interesting concept. Take Philip Glass's best known organ works and instead of using a Farfeeza organ, play them on a big church-like pipe organ in a cathedral. And to be honest, in some ways, it is a winning combination. One gets away from Glass's mathematically precise minimalism and infuses these peices with a more romantic and grand feel. But while this idea produces its share of moments, something just didn't feel quite right. Thus, sadly I have to detract from the below 5 star reviews and give the CD a solid 3.

Why? Anyone who has heard the original recordings of Dance II and IV know that these peices are not only amazingly technical, but have a mathematical intricacy that only adds to their beauty (polyrhythms abounding). The problem, then, was that when played on a pipe-organ in a hall with quite large reverberation, much of that intricacy gets lost and muddled. Thus, it is hard to follow along during some of the more rhythmically technical parts of some of the pieces, and while the overall feel is still good, the detail gets lost.

This is not too bothersome in two of the pieces in particular: The finale of Satyagraha, and Mad Rush (though I must admit that the chord changes of Dance IV sound amazing in a hall). Still, I couldn't help coming away from the other pieces feeling like something - some of the details - were unjustly stripped (especially Dance II which is a favorite of mine in its original version).

So if you are looking for Glass's organ works with a new and more robust feel, this is a good CD to get. If you are not familiar at all with his organ works, check out "Dance 1-5" which will give you a good feel and get this CD, possibly, afterwards. But if you are in love with the mathematical precision and detail in Glass's organ works, beware that the production on this CD leaves much to be desired.
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By ADP on October 17, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Philip Glass has a reputation as a minimalist, but there is something maximalist--in fact, something downright grand--about the simple structures and intricate repetitions of these pieces. The excerpt from "Satyagraha" (hope I spelled that correctly) is so grand that it seems like coronation music; it also says its say relatively quickly, making it perhaps the best introduction to Glass for the uninitiated. The first two track, "Dance for Organ" and "Mad Rush," accumulate their power more slowly, richly rewarding a patient listener. Buy this CD!
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Format: Audio CD
This CD combines my favorite instrument, the pipe organ, with my favorite modern composer, Philip Glass. This is one of my favorite CD's, and this is coming from someone that loves metal, punk, classic rock, and classical, and can play different instruments for all of those genres. That being said, I can understand how someone that is not familiar with Glass would be turned off by tunes of twenty-plus minutes that are seemingly repititious, but for me the beauty lies in finding the intricacies of polyrhythms, changing time signatures, and building dynamics. Besides that, I love the moods that these tunes create, and in many ways I consider Glass to be a mood setting, ambient composer.

I also have to commend Donald Joyce for being able to play through these pieces. His technique and registration choices for the organ would be hard to improve upon.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In his liner notes, Tim Page writes that he asked Donald Joyce to see if he thought there were "Wagnerian dimmensions in these scores." With this CD, Page concludes that Glass is reconciled "not only with Wagner but with an entire genre of compositions for the organ." Well...

To reach this arguable achievement, the music had to be moved from Farfisa portables to the Anton Heiller Memorial Organ (4861 pipes) at Southern College in Collegedale, TN. Which could be compared to playing Miles Davis solos on a tuba. What's going on here is an assault on the clarity of Glass' music. I'm not against that. If the intent - besides the Wagnerian/minimalist connection - is to hear this music differently, it succeeds. If the intent is also to entertain, it succeeds. I was more entertained by this "Contrary Motion" than I ever was by the original. The 24 minutes of "Dance II" danced by while I read a book. The transcription from "Satyagraha" had majesty. The effect of a pipe organ blurring, smoothing, & breathing makes these pieces into something new, perhaps more organic; probably not what Glass intended, but an experiment almost John Cageian in results. Glass might appreciate that. I wish Joyce had used more of the pipe organ's sound capacities. In fact, I might be even more delighted if he had performed these works on a restored vaudeville era Wurlitzer theater organ.
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By A Customer on August 24, 1999
Format: Audio CD
As an organist, I was much impressed by this recording. Donald Joyce does a fabulous job in his interpretation of the works of Philip Glass.
To those who like organ music, I would encourage you to buy this CD. This recording is not for everyone. However, to those who like organ music and the music of Philip Glass, this recording has much to commend it.
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