What is on the video?
This video is an excerpt of Philip Glass's Gradus for solo saxophone. This particular performance took place in Goodwin Hall on the campus of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.
Background on Philip Glass's Gradus:
Gradus for solo saxophone (originally for soprano saxophone), was written especially for saxophonist Jon Gibson in 1968. The work is divided up into "Part I" and "Part II" and is one of the best examples of Glass's compositional style.
What should I listen for in the video?
Although the video is only a one minute excerpt of Glass's Gradus (the total length of the work is around 10 minutes in length), I think that it is very good representation of Glass's use of the temporal element to dictate a work's overall form structure.
While many people argue that minimalism is a "stagnant" and "boring" form of music, I believe that the best way to experience minimalist music is to step away from the conventional strategy of judging a work based only on the harmonic and melodic content.
In his liner notes for "Music in 12 Parts: Parts 1 and 2", Glass stated that:
"In undertaking a work of this length it was my intention to confront directly the problem of musical scale (or time). It may happen that some listeners, missing the usual musical structures (or landmarks) by which they are used to orient themselves, may experience some initial difficulties in actually perceiving the music. However, when it becomes apparent that nothing happens in the usual sense, but that, instead, the gradual accretion of musical material can and does serve as the basis of the listener's attention, then he can perhaps discover another mode of listening- one in which neither memory nor anticipation have a place in sustaining the texture, quality or reality of the musical experience. It is hoped that one would then be able to perceive the music as a "presence", freed of dramatic structure, a pure medium of sound."
- Citation for this quote:
Phillip Glass, "Liner Notes, Music in 12 Parts: Parts 1 and 2" (London:Virgin Records, CA2010, 1977),n.p.
Thank you so very much for your support and consideration!
By reading this brief summary and viewing this video excerpt, you are helping me to educate and spread the word about both Philip Glass's saxophone works and music!
Saxophonist Hart Linker