Opening/Wichita Vortex Sutra
Two solo pieces by Philip Glass (b. 1937) are next: first Opening (1981) - the first piece on Glass' album Glassworks - a short piece constructed from layers of repeating musical "cells" (short fragments of melodic material), which he uses throughout his work. Glass, too, studied the modernist repertoire of the 20th century, before moving to Paris to study with Nadia Boulanger. There he met Ravi Shankar, and his distinctive style was formed largely from their work together. Wichita Vortex Sutra (1988) is a haunting and graceful accompaniment for Allen Ginsberg's poem about the Vietnam War. The two friends bumped into each other in a bookstore in the East Village of New York and decided to collaborate. Glass wrote the music to mirror Ginsberg's reading of the poem. The beautiful, consonant harmonies juxtapose with the graphic images of war to create a disarming work.
- Jessie Rothwell is the Publications Coordinator for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She also writes music, plays the oboe, and sings Bulgarian folk music.