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Mishima (Original Music Composed By Philip Glass)

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Album Review

Philip Glass is an acquired taste. Particularly in some of his earliest works, Glass stripped his compositions down to such a minimal level that it's hard for casual listeners to appreciate. One of the pieces on this album, for instance, Music for Voices, is definitely not for the squeamish. Composed in 1970 and recorded live at the Paula Cooper Gallery in 1972 (accounting for the somewhat hissy sound) Music for Voices is exactly that: eight a cappella voices chanting solfa in repeated patterns, slowly varying the dynamics and rhythms. In the right frame of mind, this hypnotic humming can be affecting and mesmerizing. It can also be incredibly annoying. Dedicated fans of the composer's earliest works will be fascinated by this raw piece. The second composition on the CD, however, holds a broader appeal while still retaining a "stripped-down" approach. Another Look at Harmony, Pt. 4 features the much more familiar setting of chorus against electric organ (played, as usual, by longtime Glass collaborator Michael Riesman), recorded in 1989 with a resultant cleaner and more immediate sound. Similar in feel to Glass' early operas and parts of his landmark score for the film Koyaanisqatsi, Another Look at Harmony, Pt. 4 finds Glass moving beyond his Music in Twelve Parts to further explore his approach to harmony. The result is a transcendent piece worthy of dedicated listening time. This second piece makes the CD worth investigating for Glass fans.

Customer Reviews

Excellent record but iTunes has incomplete/messed up version of album

No doubt this is an amazing soundtrack and if you like Phillip Glass you should definitely own this - one of his best. However, iTunes has incomplete/messed up version of album. Does not have Kyoto's House even though it says it does, and that song is IMHO the best song on the record. Instead, iTunes has Osamu's Theme on twice (i.e. you are paying twice for the exact same version of song). I wish iTunes would correct this but don't know how to make that happen. I've emailed and filled out complaint form several times over last week but no response. Other than that issue, you should buy this record.

An exploration in timbre.

Philip Glass is not usually my cup of tea but this album is one of Glass' better works. He uses many different tone colors and sounds to create the moods for this album. The repetition expected in a work by Glass is still an integral part of the soundscape but there are many more elements that are available to the listener. I was a bit disappointed that the album did not seem to allow Glass the opportunity to expand on many of the themes that are used. It seems, probably due to the constraints of the medium of film, that Glass has many more things that he would have done if given the time space to do so. This is an important work that listeners of film scoring and classical music should have in their libraries.

One of my favorite albums!!!

I wore out my tape back in the 1980s. Great movie too. Definitely a must have.


Born: January 31, 1937 in Baltimore, MD

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Philip Glass was unquestionably among the most innovative and influential composers of the 20th century. Postmodern music's most celebrated and high-profile proponent, his myriad orchestral works, operas, film scores, and dance pieces proved essential to the development of ambient and new age sounds, and his fusions of Western and world musics were among the earliest and most successful global experiments of their kind. Born in Baltimore, MD, on January 31, 1937, Glass took up the flute at the...
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