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Released to mark the 83rd birthday of Philip Glass, this new album from Feico Deutekom offers solo piano arrangements of Glass’s orchestral music, interspersed with the composer’s original piano works.

The Dutch pianist has collaborated with Glass for some years, and here contributes arrangements of ‘Façades’ from Glassworks (1982) and incidental music for a 1980 staging of Beckett’s novella Company. ‘Offering; comes from pieces Glass composed with Ravi Shankar for the 1990 album Passages, and there are movements from the 1996 dance-opera Les Enfants Terribles. The longest original composition is the passacaglia Distant Figure (2017). Two etudes, Nos 16 and 20, are drawn from the composer’s popular set of 20 Etudes (1994-2012).

I’d agree with the common critical judgment that Glass was at his best in the 1960s, when he was a radical minimalist. This album doesn’t change my view. Deutekom comments that one of Glass’s fundamental contributions is ‘the application of non-linearity to Western classical music ... constant repetition through constant change’. That principle may at one time have provided the radical edge to his music, but no longer. It’s baffling that anyone could regard these pieces as anything other than contemporary salon music – banal and soporific.

ANDY HAMILTON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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