Philip Glass: This Time They Cheered

Philip Glass's minimalist trilogy triumphs in Stuttgart

In 1976 a sassy new music called minimalism burst out of the lofts of Manhattan's SoHo district and marched smartly uptown to the Metropolitan Opera House. Part rock, part raga, part dreamscape and part photo-realism, the minimalist ethos was distilled by composer Philip Glass and theater artist Robert Wilson in a 4 1/2-hour operatic extravaganza called Einstein on the Beach. The sung text consisted solely of numbers and the syllables do, re, mi, etc., while the music was built from a series of simple phrases, insistently repeated. The effect was either riveting or maddening, depending on one's point of view. But...

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