Philip Glass (1937-)



Donald Macleod explores Philip Glass's huge influence on pop and rock.

Donald Macleod continues the week of exclusive interview with the composer Philip Glass in his 75th birthday year.

Taking centre stage in today's episode: Philip Glass's remarkable "Songs and Poems for solo cello", written in 2007 for his partner, cellist Wendy Sutter, and hailed by critics as one of the most original - and remarkable - new works to come from the composer's pen: perhaps the finest work for solo cello since Britten's Cello Suites.

Before that, Donald Macleod talks to the composer about his strong interest - and influence on - contemporary pop and rock music, introducing a pop song written by the composer for Linda Ronstadt, and his first symphony "Low" (1992), directly inspired by the music of David Bowie and Brian Eno. We'll also hear from Glass's controversial opera "The Voyage", composed for the US quincentennial in 1992, and the most expensive commission in the Met's history, and a recent dance music remix of the composer's Piano Etude no.2 by the Brazilian hip-hop DJ Luciano Supervielle.

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Donald Macleod ends the week of exclusive interview with the composer Philip Glass by bringing us right up to date, showcasing two works strongly familiar to British audiences, and two of Glass's most recent concert pieces.

First, the composer discusses his life scoring films, before we hear one of his most acclaimed scores - the darkly sinister music to the 2006 British film "Notes On A Scandal", starring Dame Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett. We round off the week's survey of Glass's operatic works with a brand-new recording of Glass's "From The Penal Colony" (2000), commissioned by Music Theatre Wales and based on Kafka's short story.

Finally - two world premiere recordings: Glass's most recent concerto - which doubles as a ballet (!) - and an instrumental work for two pianos. At the age of 75, is there a new 'classical' strain emerging in his music?

Donald Macleod focuses on Philip Glass's scores for films.