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Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Philip Glass, The Glass Hour, Gregory Harrington, World Premiere of The Hours Suite, Janacek Philharmonic, Mark Shapiro


Philip Glass of course has written many compelling works over his career. Some I like better than others, and some performances fully convince while others as with any music of this sort might fall a bit short at times.

Today I am happy to report in on a program of Glass works that fall into the former category. It is violinist Gregory Harrington with the Janacek Philharmonic uuder Mark Shapiro. The CD is entitled The Glass Hour (Estile Records) and it contains the world premiere recording of "The Hours Suite" for Solo Violin and String Orchestra plus the Violin Concerto No. 2 "The American Four Seasons".

Both works have Minimalist repetitions but often more as kinds of arpeggios in idiomatic string ways than as mesmeric hypnotics. The combination of violin solo unfolding and orchestral-string sound blanket seems nicely quasi-neo-Baroque more than typically Minimal and the sweetly reflective Harrington and enveloping orchestral wrap seem just right for this music.

Glass Hour, in short, has everything going for it. It is later Philip Glass at his best and Gregory Harrington puts it all together with Mark Shapiro and the Janacek Philharmonic for what seems to me destined to be the benchmark standard. Bravo!

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