PHILIP GLASS (b.1937): Partita for Solo Violin.
Catalogue Number: 05Q075
Label: Orange Mountain Music
Description: The Partita, a recent work written for Fain (after composer and violinist - who has become a champion of Glass' violin music - collaborated on The Book of Longing (01J088) from which a violin solo is included here), is a substantial seven-movement suite, very obviously modeled on Bach's works in similar form. It strongly exemplifies the trend in Glass' music, evident in recent years, to move beyond and away from the instantly identifiable idiom that he established in the 1980s; his personal take on minimalism that his admirers regard as a consistent and satisfying formula with little variation (but much repetition!), and his detractors believe ran its course almost as soon as it was introduced. Most of the movements have episodes that could only be by Glass, but all, especially the large chaconne, presented in two separate sections, sound like a contemporary neo-baroque take on Bach without insistently revealing their composer's identity. This chaconne, clearly intended as the heart and apotheosis of the work, consists of a quarter-hour of inventive variations with much bravura and technically highly accomplished violin writing. The solos from the concerto (11M089) form a kind of little baroque suite in their own right, the work as a whole being an homage to Vivaldi's Four Seasons. The hair-raising violin solo from 1975's Einstein is orthodox minimalism, sharing material and exhilarating thrust with the opera's climactic 'spaceship' sequence. Tim Fain (violin).