Weekly Wire
Austin Chronicle Where Everything is Music

By Louisa C. Brinsmade

MARCH 8, 1999: 

We have fallen into the place,
in Baltimore when he was small
where everything is music.


Radios in his father's shop,
and all the records that didn't sell,
We have fallen into the place


where he saw Einstein and his violin
bow upon the beach of farewells.
Where everything is music,
the combination of two on a phrase
propel the polymetric shell
We have fallen into. The place


an eighth note is subtracted away
refrains our loss, defines the minimal
where everything is music.


"To create the illusion of repetition
you have to change all the time."
We have fallen into the place
where everything is music.


While not all Minimalist compositions are easily categorized, they are frequently characterized by the following elements.

While not all Minimalist compositions are frequently characterized by the following elements, they are easily categorized:

While not all Minimalist compositions are the following elements, easily categorized, they are frequently characterized by: Gradually Unfolding Process.


Digital image from the "Monsters of Grace" cyberopera.

While not all Minimalist compositions are easily categorized, they are frequently characterized by the following elements: Gradually Unfolding Process -- the musical process is in the foreground, readily perceived or understood.

While not all Minimalist compositions are easily categorized, they are frequently characterized.

This is what you need to know about Philip Glass.

Okay, there might be a few other things you need to know. Like the fact that he's going to be at Bass Concert Hall March 16 to perform his latest "cyberopera" called Monsters of Grace, a collaboration with artist Robert Wilson. You may recall Glass first collaborated with Wilson on a four-hour opera "event" called Einstein on the Beach back in the Eighties. It was that pivotal event that marked Glass as a Minimalist and as an "accessible" composer through his use of repetition and simple (or minimal) musical phrases.

Glass' use of synthesizers and other electronic sounds, (although there won't be "weird or strange" noises coming out of those plug-ins, because he doesn't like that), combined with Wilson's use of 3D computer-animation that will require the audience to wear those colored-paper glasses, should make Monsters of Grace a true multimedia and interactive opera.

It's a modern event with an ancient libretto using the passionate love poems of the first whirling dervish, 13th-century Persian poet Jelaluddin Rumi. ("We have fallen into the place/Where everything is music" are lines from a Rumi poem used in the first scene of Monsters of Grace, by the way.) Glass long ago developed a passion for East Indian, Persian, and West African music and literature that, contrary to the Western arts, builds rhythm first, then builds on it with harmony/melody on top. Glass uses repetitive rhythms with harmony and melody drifting more slowly through their own repetitive patterns that don't really repeat so much as transpire moment-to-moment. Meanwhile, you're probably hypnotized by this time -- his music has a trance-like quality. Combine your meditative state with Wilson's surreal images (like an open palm of a hand being slashed by a scalpel) and you'll feel like you're dreaming. Or having a nightmare.

Since he's going to be in town that week, Glass will also appear as a keynote speaker at the SXSW Interactive Festival on Tuesday, March 16, and will probably discuss how technology shapes art. And the other way around.

Neither event should be missed.


For information on Monsters of Grace, visit http://www.utexas.edu/pac


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