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AdamAdministrator
(acolyte)
03/22/04 09:49 AM
Philip Glass  

I first heard Low when it came out in 1977. Like many people, I was struck by the vision of pop music which was attempting to go beyond the normal constrains of pop-music marketing. David and Brian were experimenting very much the way artists in new music, painting, theatre and film were - advancing their art through new technology and perception with very little commercial motivation as part of their thinking. I rememebr talking to David at the time (we've known each other since the 70s) and was impressed to hear that Low was meant to be part of a trilogy (eventually Lodger and Heroes followed). I'd never encountered pop music concieved with that level of artistic ambition. I thought at the time I'd like to do something with that material, but didn't carry the thought any further.

When I work with a composer from a different tradition and background, the process of stretching my own musical language to meet and integrate with their way of working has been an exhilirating and enlivening experience. Low Symphony has been just that kind of experience for me.

I began by calling David and letting him know what I had in mind - a full symphonic treatment from his and Brian's original Low record. He was delighted with the idea and encouraged me to follow my own musical inclinations with the project. I next transcribed quite a few melodies from the original and began trying to see what could work for me. I eventualkly settled on three themes - one for each movement of the symphony. My procedure was to treat them as my own, making a new composition based on the original music. Still, the music of David and Brian is always there, or, at any rate not far away. And in the end, it turns out to be a real symphony. For me this has been a particularly happy project. I wrote the music with Dennis Russel Davies and the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra in mind, and they gave a definitive reading of the work. In fact, the recording preceeded the concert premiere by several weeks, another unusual aspect of the Low Symphony.

Philip Glass, Arena May June 1993, Page 68.



ziggfried
(acolyte)
03/30/04 10:25 AM
Philip Glass again new [re: Adam]  

"David and Brian were really trying to do art in music form, which was interesting to me, as I was using art music forms and moving toward a popular medium. So we were heading from different directions towards a common ground. There were a few other people - Zappa, Tangerine Dream - who were doing it. So when David started on the trilogy, the idea was around that art music could exist within the world of pop music. Unfortunately, that idea waned in the Eighties, but it was a moment of great optimism, creativity and enthusiasm."

Philip Glass, Uncut, April 2001

SysiyoModerator
(thunder ocean)
09/30/04 05:49 AM
Symphonies new [re: ziggfried]  

The "Low" Symphony, composed in the Spring of 1992, is based on the record Low by DAvid Bowie and Brian Eno first released in 1977. The record consisted of a number of songs and instrumentals and used techniques which were similar to procedures used by composers working in new and experimental music. As such, this record was widely appriciated by musicians working noth in the field of "pop" music and in experimental music and was a landmark work of that period.

I've taken themes from three of the instrumentals on the record and, combining them with material of my own, have used them as the basis of three movements of the Symphony. Movement one comes from "Subterraneans," movement two from "Some Are" and movement three from "Warszawa."

My approach was to treat the themes very much as if they were my own and allow their transformation to follow my own compositional bent when possible. In practice, however, Bowie and Eno's music certainly influenced how I worked, leading me to sometimes surprising musical conclusions. In the end I think I arrived at something of a real collaboration between my music and theirs.

Philip Glass, 1992, from the "Low" Symphony sleeve notes

SysiyoModerator
(thunder ocean)
09/30/04 05:58 AM
We Are Glass new [re: Sysiyo]  

"Heroes," like the "Low" Symphony of several years ago, is based on the work of David Bowie and Brian Eno. In a series of innovative recordings made in the late 70's, David and Brian combined influences from world music, experimental avant-garde, and rock & roll and thereby refined the future of popular music. The continuing influence of these works has secured their stature as a part of the new "classics" of our time.

Just as composers of the past have trned to music of their time to fashion new works, the workd of Bowie and Eno became an inspiration and point of departure of symphonies of my own.

As I have been involved with the world of dance for many years, I naturally mentioned the "Heroes" Symphony to the American choreographer Twyla Tharp. Straight away she wasnted Heroes for her new dance company, and soon after, we met with David. He immidiately shared Twyla's enthussiasm and I found myself writing a symphonic score shortly to become a ballet.

I've taken six tracks from the original Bowie/Eno recording and made each of them the basis of a dance work. By combining these themes with original music of my own I ended up with a six movement work which is symphonic in scale and, at the same time, serves the dramatic purpose of Twyla's ballet.

The result, hopefully, will be enjoyable to the listener at home as well as a a new dance work for the stage.

Philip Glass, 1996, from the "Heroes" Symphony sleeve notes


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