Philip Glass – Koyaanisqatsi

I’ve mentioned Koyaanisqatsi in a previous post but decided to cover it again here as it exemplifies many of the points that have made minimalism a success in an arena where many modern musical genres have failed or withered into insignificance; a continued popularity, a renaissance of tonality and a crossover into popular culture via the alternative media of cinema.

Glass’ application of orchestral textures alongside the organ and choir provide a moving testament to the vitality of modern classical music. An orchestra doesn’t have to be buried in the sensibilities of 19th Century composition to be justified, and this music really is of our time. Although not in movements in the traditional sense, appearing as tracks on a CD, the music has a definite purpose and progresses as we move through it, evoking an imagery worthy of a tone poem.

I find the whole composition both refreshing and somewhat intimidating in its execution, this isn’t music to be taken lightly and although I’m relatively new to the genre I can’t help but feel that this is a piece that I’ll be returning to for many years to come, finding unexplored corners of the work with each repeated performance.


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