Philip Glass (b. 1937) is an American composer who developed the minimalist movement along with Terry Riley and Steve Reich. His style has evolved and he considers himself a "Classicist." Glass studied at the prepatory school at the Peabody Institute, then an accelerated program at the University of Chicago and later at Juilliard. In 1964, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and traveled to Paris to study with Nadia Boulanger. Glass is a very prolific composer, many of them for film.
Glassworks is a chamber work in six movements. It was written as a more accessible, pop-oriented piece. Glass disliked the direction that modern music was taking.
I. Opening (piano (hn)) 6'
II. Floe (2fl, 2 ssx, 2 tsx, 2hn, syn) 7'
III. Island (2fl, 2 ssx, tsx, bcl, 2hn, vla, vc) 8'
IV. Rubric (fl, ssx, tsx, 2hn, org) 6'
V. Façades (2ssx, syn, vla, vc) 7'
VI. Closing (fl, cl, bcl, hn, vla, vc, pno) 6' - A reprise of Opening.
The music composed by Glass is easily identifiable since he tends to use a lot of oscilating minor thirds and sixths. In the very first movement, this can be heard. He uses repeating phrases often, and can get very striking harmony changes since the listener may be settled into the previous phrase. The movement Facades is often played as a stand-alone work.
ComparisonEditA more recent work, Songs and Poems for Solo Cello, shows his more traditionally styled music. Glass was heavily inspired by Schubert. This suite has lots of Bach-like sounds due to its need for harmony played by the single cello.
Glass has a very distinct sound, there really isn't much to say. I'd very much like to play the Songs and Poems some time.
Edward Strickland. "Glass, Philip." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, accessed May 2, 2014, http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/11262.
Official site: http://www.philipglass.com/bio.php
Glassworks Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Stu7h7Qup8
Songs and Poems Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cowfr10p-no