Glass 70

February 1, 2007

Alex Ross’ blog posting from yesterday reminded me about the 70th birthday of composer Philip Glass. The man best known for “deedle-doodle” music (at least to his detractors) has written quite a few pieces I like, which might seem surprising to those who know about my other concert hall tastes. I listen more frequently to the grandiose works of Wagner, Mahler, and Strauss (among others), but listening to Glass provides my musical life with a sense of balance.

For a meditative experience, find a quiet spot outdoors or indoors at night, and just absorb the single-track recording of Music with Changing Parts. For those with more traditional tastes, I would recommend his Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, which appears on a good Deutsche Grammophon recording of violin concertos that also features works by Leonard Bernstein and Ned Rorem

For those of you interested in information retrieval, check out the Glass Engine. While working on her Ph.D., Diane wrote a paper about it for a class. With my interest in music, I found the ideas behind the Glass Engine rather intriguing. Nevertheless, Diane and I have discussed potential problems with the Glass Engine. My main concern relates to the attachment of emotional attributes, such as joy and sorrow, to certain pieces. This brings up a number of issues related to the subjectivity of classification.

With a professional colleague, Diane plans on revisiting the Glass Engine soon. Oddly enough, they just happened to discuss the Glass Engine yesterday…


One Response to “Glass 70”

  1. Amber Lynn Says:

    happy birthday Philip!

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