Glass Documentary

Everything about Leonard's 2006 book of poetry and Anjani's album
User avatar
dick
Posts: 1185
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2002 10:21 pm

Glass Documentary

Postby dick » Wed Apr 30, 2008 3:46 pm

We went to the Independent Film Center in NYC yesterday to see “Glass: A Portrait in 12 Parts” by Scott Hicks, the Director of “Shine.”

I found it a compelling portrayal of a very interesting and multi-faceted man. Filming began in July of 2005, and went on for about a year. No mention of Cohen or “Book of Longing,” I think because the filming was completed before. Jewish elements, combined with Tao and Buddhist and other Eastern influences, plus connections with Allen Ginsburg present interesting parallels between Glass and Cohen. 1960’s and the Greenwich Village arts scene also overlap.

Glass explained his prodigious output, and ability to balance several simultaneous projects by saying his philosophy was simple, “get up early and work all day.” He went on to clarify that music was his life, so it wasn’t really work. He added a writer friend had told him that immersion in his writing was his means of avoiding the chaos of ordinary life. I thought of Cohen, whether or not the quote was his.

Family and friends, wife Holly and preschool children, older son, sister, ex-wives, Rimpoche, Ravi Shankar, Woody Allen, Chuck Close and others provide candid observations and help fill in the portrait. Scenes from “Waiting for the Barbarians” on stage, a Glass piano solo, and a premier of a new symphony were very powerful.

My enjoyment of Glass compositions continues to grow. I don’t have any real understanding of the composition process but I found Glass’s description fascinating. He likened it to “listening to that current that is just beneath the surface – the river you know is there but you can’t see. I just listen and write it down, I don’t think.”

I recommend the film if it comes somewhere near you.
User avatar
mnkyface
Posts: 1977
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 11:16 pm
Location: California

Re: Glass Documentary

Postby mnkyface » Thu May 01, 2008 12:47 am

Thanks for the review Dick. Sounds like a fascinating film. I will try to catch it ... hopefully in a theater near me... if not then definitely on DVD.
"In this world of shallow, he is the abyss."~ YouTube commenter greg450318
________________________________________________________________
Lyon, July 2008 / Oakland x2, April 2009 / San Jose, November 2009 / Oakland, December 2010 / San Jose, November 2012 / Oakland, March 2013
User avatar
Joe Way
Posts: 1118
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2002 5:50 pm
Location: Wisconsin, USA

Re: Glass Documentary

Postby Joe Way » Thu May 01, 2008 2:52 am

Hi Dick,
Thanks for the review-we now have a Sundance Cinema here in Madison so I'm hoping it makes it there-otherwise like Mnkyface-I'll be getting the DVD.

I have "Book of Longing" playing in my car again-I keep admiring it more and more. Also like the "Monsters of Grace" that I have.

Joe
"Say a prayer for the cowboy..."
User avatar
linda_lakeside
Posts: 3857
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2004 3:08 pm
Location: By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea..

Re: Glass Documentary

Postby linda_lakeside » Sun May 11, 2008 5:49 pm

Now that the snow has melted, Dick, are you getting a new avatar?

I enjoyed your take - and the more I hear on Glass, even though I'm still pretty lukewarm about him on his own, I haven't heard enough to be a convert. But BOL might turn the tide. You are a truly devoted Cohenite. I admire that. But you're going to hate the snowsuit come August. Trust me.

Ciao.
~ The smell of perfume in the air, bits of beauty everywhere ~ Leonard Cohen.
User avatar
dick
Posts: 1185
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2002 10:21 pm

Re: Glass Documentary

Postby dick » Mon May 12, 2008 2:22 am

Am sure you are right about the snowsuit Linda....
I am, after all, a nudist!

But the avatar is my fav game image of Cohen devotion, so not intending to change it.
User avatar
linda_lakeside
Posts: 3857
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2004 3:08 pm
Location: By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea..

Re: Glass Documentary

Postby linda_lakeside » Mon May 12, 2008 3:27 am

Ha! If I fell into an Avalanche, I guess I'd wear the snowsuit, too.

Cheers...;)
~ The smell of perfume in the air, bits of beauty everywhere ~ Leonard Cohen.
User avatar
Sue
Posts: 307
Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2002 9:49 pm
Location: Burslem

Re: Glass Documentary

Postby Sue » Mon May 12, 2008 11:52 pm

I am wondering if people who watch Glass documentaries should avoid rock concerts? :lol:
William
Posts: 296
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 1:18 am

Re: Glass Documentary

Postby William » Thu May 15, 2008 5:39 pm

HOW is this chap Glass getting away with it?
God bless,
William
User avatar
dick
Posts: 1185
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2002 10:21 pm

Re: Glass Documentary

Postby dick » Thu Apr 09, 2009 1:45 am

Being shown on PBS as part of their American Masters series... 9:00 pm EST Wednesday April 8, 2009--- and I am sure many reruns.

Watch it people! :-)
User avatar
DrHGuy
Posts: 311
Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 1:37 pm
Contact:

Re: Glass Documentary

Postby DrHGuy » Thu Apr 09, 2009 5:46 am

Dick, - Outstanding review. You may yet convince me I like Glass, all other evidence to the contrary. This Philip Glass tribute has the twin virtues of lasting only 6 minutes and being intentionally funny: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AEQkIAfYio (Description: Philip Glass Buys A Loaf Of Bread, performed by Jocular Theatre in Barcelona, is a parodic musical vignette in trademark Glassian style, with the celebrated composer having a moment of existential crisis in a bakery.)
MaryB
Posts: 3952
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2008 5:40 am
Location: Columbus, Ohio USA

Re: Glass Documentary

Postby MaryB » Thu Apr 09, 2009 6:13 am

Dick,

Just got on, so missed your timely announcement. Good news is that it's being repeated here at 1AM - have it set to record. Thank you so much Dick. Looking forward to viewing this. Hope there is quite a bit of coverage on 'Book of Longing'!

Warmest regards,
Mary
1993 Detroit 2008 Kitchener June 2-Hamilton June 3 & 4-Vienna Sept 24 & 25-London RAH Nov 17 2009 NYC Feb 19-Grand Prairie Apr 3-Phoenix Apr 5-Columbia May 11-Red Rocks Jun 4-Barcelona Sept 21-Columbus Oct 27-Las Vegas Nov 12-San Jose Nov 13 2010 Sligo Jul 31 & Aug 1-LV Dec 10 & 11 2012 Paris Sept 30-London Dec 11-Boston Dec 16 2013 Louisville Mar 30-Amsterdam Sept 20
User avatar
dick
Posts: 1185
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2002 10:21 pm

Re: Glass Documentary

Postby dick » Thu Apr 09, 2009 6:19 pm

Thanks heck and Mary

You must have missed an important line in my initial post, Mary
No mention of Cohen or “Book of Longing,”


Hope you weren't too disappointed!
MaryB
Posts: 3952
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2008 5:40 am
Location: Columbus, Ohio USA

Re: Glass Documentary

Postby MaryB » Fri Apr 10, 2009 4:06 am

Hi Dick,

You're right, I did miss the initial post. Being computer illiterate :oops: somewhere along the line I had hit 'mark forums read'. Now that I am a bit more familiar with the territory, from time to time I will go back and read a topic (except politics which automatically gets marked read :lol: )from the beginning (sooo interesting), but usually go to unread posts only (time constraints :roll: ).
Okay, this is unnecessary info you don't need to read :oops: .

You know, even if I had read your initial post, I still would have watched this show after becoming familiar with 'Book of Longing' through this Forum and YouTube links provided, and also the topic about the Glass concert and Forum member meetup because of it (which is one of those I read in entirety).

I can now understand how easy it would have been for LC and Glass to collaborate on 'Book of Longing'. They are such kindred spirits - brilliant, creative, humble, perfectionists, strong work ethic, seeking spiritual fulfillment, and they both go through a tortuous process to bring a work to fruition.

I, too, couldn't help thinking about LC when he was talking about his writer friend. Does sound like some things that LC would say.

The man and his music are fascinating (not quite as much as LC though ;-) ) ! I totally enjoyed this documentary and thank you for bringing it to my attention.

Warmest regards,
Mary
1993 Detroit 2008 Kitchener June 2-Hamilton June 3 & 4-Vienna Sept 24 & 25-London RAH Nov 17 2009 NYC Feb 19-Grand Prairie Apr 3-Phoenix Apr 5-Columbia May 11-Red Rocks Jun 4-Barcelona Sept 21-Columbus Oct 27-Las Vegas Nov 12-San Jose Nov 13 2010 Sligo Jul 31 & Aug 1-LV Dec 10 & 11 2012 Paris Sept 30-London Dec 11-Boston Dec 16 2013 Louisville Mar 30-Amsterdam Sept 20
User avatar
dick
Posts: 1185
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2002 10:21 pm

Re: Glass Documentary

Postby dick » Fri Apr 10, 2009 11:44 pm

Very happy that you enjoyed the film Mary --- as you can tell, I did too.

An article in the Austin papers about Book of Longing finally getting a Texas performance this past Februray may also be of interest. I am copying it below.

Also I noted is the list of suggested Glass compositions (Glass Guide) toward the end.... I keep wondering about the timing of the Cello solo for girlfriend Wendy Sutter and the domestic scenes in the movie. Wendy was the celloist in Book of Longing, and had a memorable spot where she turned her back to the audience (and to Glass) during a solo. Life.... :-)

They admire Glass, they admire Glass, they admire Glass...
Composer has his detractors, but his influence is undeniable
By Jeanne Claire van Ryzin AMERICAN-STATESMAN ARTS WRITER Sunday, February 15, 2009

Often, a conversation about Philip Glass starts with the jokes.
"A friend of mine gave me a Philip Glass record. I listened to it for five hours before I realized it had a scratch on it."
Or: "There's one piece by Philip Glass that I really like. Which one? Oh, any one."

More than four decades after Glass shook the notoriously staid classical music world with "Einstein on the Beach" - a sprawling, plotless five-hour opera of relentlessly repetitive, harmonically basic music - the composer's influence is as indelible as ever.

And though his detractors mock Glass' cyclical arpeggios and motorized minor-key progressions as simplistic, they can't argue with the composer's ubiquity. He is America's only truly famous living composer of classical music. And from film scores to American Express commercials to operas to being parodied on "South Park," his music is quite simply everywhere.

So is he. Particular and controlling about how his music is interpreted, the 72-year-old Glass still plays dozens of gigs every year.
Saturday, Glass, his ensemble and four solo vocalists will play the University of Texas' Bass Concert Hall with "Book of Longing." Based on a book of poetry by legendary wordsmith Leonard Cohen, Glass' musical version crafts Cohen's poems - a personal, confessional rumination on the loves and losses of bygone days - into a 100-minute, 22-song cycle. Cohen's recorded voice, along with projections of his paintings and drawings, add a multimedia touch. "Book of Longing" was commissioned by UT's Performing Arts Center in collaboration with several other institutions. Although it premiered in 2007, the piece plays Austin for the first time now that the Bass has reopened after an 18-month renovation.

Glass' influence on today's creative artists is undeniable. For Austin composer Graham Reynolds, Glass' affect has been profound. Reynolds remembers when, as a pre-teen kid in New England, he was pouring through the stacks of classical albums in his local library and found an album of Glass music. "I don't even remember which album it was, but it was just so different than any other in the classical music section," says Reynolds, whose film score credits include Richard Linklater's "Waking Life."

As Reynolds sees it, repetition is essential to the enjoyment of Glass' music. "There's a tension to the repetition that pulls you in," he says. "And when there is such intense repetition, each event or change in the music becomes a big event and has greater impact."

Reynolds defends Glass against the critics who characterize the composer's music as oversimplified. "Both classical music and jazz have gotten further away from seeing value in repetition and basic tonality - that somehow using simple harmonic is regressive," says Reynolds, whose nonprofit organization Golden Hornet Project presents music by what Reynolds calls "indie classical" composers. "I admire (Glass') willingness to use a pared-down musical language. He's reinvigorated the basic musical tools."

Stephen Mills, artistic director of Ballet Austin, has used Glass' music for three major ballet works including "Hamlet," which premiered in 2000 and today concludes a restaging at the Long Center. Mills finds Glass' music far from being simplistic. "There's an underlying complexity to it," Mills says. "Once you delve deeper into it, you discover how complex the rhythms are."

Mills points out that Glass' music resists mimetic interpretation when it comes to creating choreography. "While it's formal, it's isn't dictatorial, it doesn't force a specific kind of movement," says Mills, who first used Glass' music on a ballet commissioned by American Ballet Theatre. "It allows you as a choreographer to put your own stamp on the dance."

Mills says he's always found Glass' music immediately appealing and never understood the critics who complain about repetition and simplicity.
"Glass is a prime example of an artist devoting himself creatively to something very specific and continuing to work on it over his entire career," Mills says. "That's very admirable."



Glass guide: critic's picks
Often better known for his swirling film scores and driving, edge-filled large-scale works, Philip Glass is sometimes overlooked for his smaller-scale music which tends to be more immediately accessible. Three to check out:

• 'Songs and Poems for Solo Cello,' (Orange Mountain Music, 2008). This achingly beautiful seven-movement piece reveals Glass at his most emotionally direct. Written for and performed by cellist Wendy Sutter (the composer's current girlfriend), Songs and Poems is both pretty and melancholic.

>'Kronos Quartet Performs Philip Glass,' (Nonesuch Records, 1995). Supreme interpreters of Glass' music, the quartet brings sublime precision and emotion to these intricate and haunting chamber pieces.

• 'Glass: The Concerto Project, Vol. III,' (Orange Mountain Music, 2008). On Glass' own label, this is the third of four intended releases of the composer's concertos. The Concerto Grosso captures both light and dark moods while the Concerto for Saxophone Quartet is uncharacteristically mercurial.

- Jeanne Claire van Ryzin

Grateful for Austin
Philip Glass and Austin could form a mutual appreciation society. For more than two decades Glass has been making almost yearly visits to Austin, garnering a large and loyal audience. Likewise the composer has grown to appreciate Austin.

'There are certain cities in the country that have always been beacons of culture in unexpected places,' Glass said recently by phone from his home in New York. 'My performing career really began in places like that - places that are not on the main road so to speak but were still important places. There seemed to be a connection between my artistic interests and what was going on (in Austin).'

Beginning in the early 1990s, former UT Performing Arts Center director Pebbles Wadsworth was instrumental in getting Glass to Austin on an almost annual basis and she instigated UT's commission for 'Book of Longing,' which plays Saturday at Bass Concert Hall.

But the last time Austinites got a glimpse of Glass was in 2007 in a non-UT gig: Austin Lyric Opera presented the United States premiere of 'Waiting for the Barbarians,' the composer's politically forthright opera that other U.S. opera companies were reluctant to premiere.
'I've been able to do things (in Austin) I haven't been able to do elsewhere,' Glass said. 'And I'm grateful for that.'
- Jeanne Claire van Ryzin

'Book of Longing'
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21
MaryB
Posts: 3952
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2008 5:40 am
Location: Columbus, Ohio USA

Re: Glass Documentary

Postby MaryB » Sat Apr 11, 2009 5:31 am

Hi Dick,

Thanks for posting this review. His detractors can say what they want, all I know is that when we had record :roll: stores for over 25 years, his product sold more than all our sales of classical music combined. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that we kept it in the 'New Age' section ;-) (is there even such a category in these days?). His fans were devoted ala LC fans :D .

Best regards,
Mary
1993 Detroit 2008 Kitchener June 2-Hamilton June 3 & 4-Vienna Sept 24 & 25-London RAH Nov 17 2009 NYC Feb 19-Grand Prairie Apr 3-Phoenix Apr 5-Columbia May 11-Red Rocks Jun 4-Barcelona Sept 21-Columbus Oct 27-Las Vegas Nov 12-San Jose Nov 13 2010 Sligo Jul 31 & Aug 1-LV Dec 10 & 11 2012 Paris Sept 30-London Dec 11-Boston Dec 16 2013 Louisville Mar 30-Amsterdam Sept 20

Return to “Book of Longing”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest