Glass Talks About His Music
Avant Garde Composer Sounds Off
Avant garde composer Philip Glass, whose ensemble performed in Sanders Theatre Sunday night, combined tapes and questions in a discussion of his approach to music before about 60 people in Currier House yesterday.
Glass said modern music needs audience participation for its completion. "The problem in music is not to indicate what you want, but that it gets indicated too easily," Glass said.
Glass, therefore, does not like to use language to convey meaning. He admitted, however, that "when you're writing an opera that can be a major problem."
Genius at Work
Glass's five hour opera "Einstein on the Beach," indicates his solution to that problem. The basic text of the opera is a sequence of numbers and the names of the notes. "That way, the structure and content of the piece are identical," Glass said.
Because, Glass said, he is trying to discover a language for himself, he has had trouble in the past finding musicians to perform his work and amassing the capital necessary to stage his operas.
"Einstein on the Beach," staged in several European cities, was performed for only two nights at New York's Metropolitan Opera House. "It's different here" Glass said. "You have to deal with several individuals to obtain the necessary financial support. In Europe you deal with the government," he added.
"This kind of work is definitely a break with the past. Whether it can find a place in a setting like the Met will only be known with time," Glass said.