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Philip GLASS (b. 1937)
Soundtracks - Volume II
Michael Riesman (piano)
Chase Spruill (violin)
rec. 2008-18, NYU Dolan Studio, Oktaven Studio, Looking Glass Studio, New York

This disc follows on well from volume 1, with Michael Riesman once again presenting a collection for solo piano of Philip Glass’ many fine and varied film scores. They are mainly his own arrangements, the exceptions being “Truman Sleeps”, which was originally composed for solo piano, and the “Candyman Suite” which Riesman arranged for violin and piano.

Riesman has been a close collaborator with Philip Glass, and these thoughtful and incisive arrangements are the fruits of their close relationship. The opening track is a wonderful adaptation of the choral section, “Vessels”, from the film “Koyaanisqatsi” or “Life out of Balance”; here, Riesman performs the piece wonderfully, managing to maintain flow, tension and intensity through the various changes of tempo.

“The Candyman Suite” is interesting in that it uses music you would hardly associate with a suspense- filled horror film. There are times when the violin sounds more like klezmer music than horror, especially in the opening track “Music Box”, while the final piece of the suite, “Helen’s Theme /Finale” has an air of menace in the way the music is driven to its conclusion.

The rest of the disc is made up of sensitive transcriptions such as “Kundun: Chinese Invade”, and the Prologue from “Naqoyqatsi”, and the two pieces from “The Truman Show”, which contains the only original Glass piano piece, “Truman Sleeps”, show what an excellent composer of film music he is. “Taking Lives” is wonderful in the way that it adds what is almost a jazz riff, while the final piece, “Secret Window”, provides a fitting conclusion with the suspenseful, almost menacing, left-hand music laying the foundation out of which the music develops. That there is a lot more than arpeggios to Philip Glass’ music becomes abundantly clear as you listen to this disc.

In his arrangements, Michael Riesman has managed to keep the character of the original pieces and produce a wonderful, varied disc which is a worthy companion to Volume 1 of this series and a fine addition to my collection of Philip Glass’ piano music. The interesting choice of pieces plus a first-class performance from Michael Riesman make this disc one that any self-respecting Philip Glass fan will want to own. Good recorded sound enhances the enjoyment and the sleeve notes could not have been better.

Stuart Sillitoe 

1   Koyaanisqatsi: Vessels [8:17]
2   The Thin Blue Line [3:11]
Candyman Suite
3   i - Music Box [5:33]
4   ii - Cabrini /City Montage [3:21]
5   iii - Girl’s Theme/Floating Candyman [4:56]
6   iv - Meeting Candyman [2:59]
7   v - Helen’s Theme/Finale [4:49]
8   Jenipapo [3:32]
9   Kundun: Chinese Invade [4:11]
10 Truman Sleeps (from The Truman Show) [2:50]
11 Raising the Sail (from The Truman Show) [4:44]
12 Naqoyqatsi: Prologue [6:34]
13 The Fog of War [7:10]
14 Undertow: The Family [3:57]
15 Taking Lives [3:35]
16 Secret Window [3:30]

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