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Philip GLASS (b. 1937)
Facades, from Glassworks (1982) [6:42]
Company* (1980) [8:55]
Distant Figure – Passacaglia (2017) [14:00]
Etude No. 16 [5:50]
Offering, from Passages* (1990) [9:45]
Les Enfants Terribles* (1996) [14:24]
Etude No. 20 (2012) [10:21]
Feico Deutekom (piano)
*arranged for solo piano by Feico Deutekom
rec. 2019, Zeeuwse Concertzaal, Middelburg, the Netherlands.

Pianist Feico Deutekom has had a long working relationship with Philip Glass and is recognised as a leading specialist in minimalist music. This recording consists of new piano arrangements of Philip Glass classics by Feico Deutekom as well as pieces originally composed for piano, and has been timed for release on Philip Glass's 83rd birthday, 31 January 2020.

Fans of Glass will know the gently romantic Facades, and Deutekom’s arrangement is a very natural sounding version that gives the impression that it had always been intended for the piano, which is about all you can ask from an arrangement. Company is also turned into an excellent piano piece. In four movements, this was originally composed as incidental music for Samuel Beckett’s play of the same name. It is best known in its version as Glass’s Second String Quartet, but again sounds here as if born for the piano.

Distant Figure (Passacaglia for Solo Piano) is the most recent piece in this programme, and it has the ‘late period’ characteristics of poetic introspection and explorations of sonority that have kept Glass’s music from becoming stagnant. This is a substantial work that takes us into the realms of romantic music with a capital ‘R’ in its gestures and musical content, with octaves in the bass and lots of up-and-down scales. Etude No.16 is a nicely calm oasis after the extensive span of Distant Figure.

Offering is another new arrangement with an attractively open texture, the music coming from Passages, a set of pieces composed for sitar legend Ravi Shankar. This is followed by three selected movements from Glass’s Les Enfants Terribles, described in Wikipedia as “a danced chamber opera for four voices and three pianos.” Inspired by a story by Jean Cocteau, there is a drama and poignancy in this music that has its own sense of theatricality, while remaining in the expected Glass idiom. The final piece is the lovely Etude No.20, the last the set of twenty piano etudes composed by Glass between 1994 and 2012.

There have been a few nice piano recordings of Philip Glass’s piano music in recent years, including those from VŪkingur ”laffson (review) and Jeroen van Veen (review), but this Musical Offering takes us beyond the Etudes and into fresh territory. Superbly performed, nicely recorded and smartly presented, this disc amplifies their number and unveils a significant addition to the Glass piano repertoire.

Dominy Clements

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