Monday, August 17, 2009

changing opinion

it's been a while since i've posted any music here and it's so much a part of my life
that it seems odd not to share.

i can't recall the first time i heard the music of philip glass but i think it was his release entitled "north star". as one of the more widely known exponents of "minimalism", (a genre of experimental music named in the 1960s that is based mostly in consonant harmony, steady pulse, slow transformation, and the reiteration of musical phrases), philip's music has some of the more beautiful moments in my listening experience.

in 1986, glass hooked up with such musical luminaries as paul simon, linda ronstadt, suzanne vega, david byrne, the roche sisters, and kronos quartet, to produce one of my favourite albums entitled "songs from liquid days".

the words are sung by hugely talented singers including the one i'll share here today which is "changing opinion" sung by the very talented bernard fowler.

here are the words to "changing opinion":

changing opinion lyrics by paul simon

we became aware
of a hum in the room
an electrical hum in the room
it went mmmmmm

we followed it from
corner to corner
we pressed our ears
against the walls
we crossed diagonals
and put our hands on the floor
it went mmmmmm

sometimes it was
a murmur
sometimes it was
a pulse
sometimes it seemed
to disappear
but then with a quarter-turn
of the head
it would roll around the sofa
a nimbus humming cloud

maybe it's the hum
of a calm refrigerator
cooling on a big night
maybe it's the hum
of our parents' voices
long ago in a soft light

maybe it's the hum
of changing opinion
or a foreign language
in prayer
maybe it's the mantra
of the walls and wiring
deep breathing
in soft air

and here is the music . . . .


Dan Gurney said...

Interesting music. I've heard of Philip Glass for many years, but as far as I know this is the first music of his I've ever heard. Introspective, quiet, thought music, so it's easy to see why it appeals to you... thank you for sharing it with your blogging friends.

steven said...

hi dan, this must have abeen an interesting project for him as his music is more typically played in achamber setting. i saw him once and it was more visceral, more powerful because when you see people trying to play this music it just takes it into another realm. thanks for dropping by. have a dream of a day out there!!! steven

Alan said...

Philip Glass's operas are some of the few examples of the genre I can actually listen to and enjoy. Akhnaten is especially good. I like the operas because I think they are long enough to express a succession and development of ideas, but at the same time, his short works have a powerful effect.

willow said...

I saw a wonderful documentary on Philip Glass not too long ago. I loved the story of even though his name was well known in the music world, he was still a struggling young artist who had to drive a cab to make ends meet. One day, a woman in his taxi saw his id card posted in the cab and said, "Do you know you have the same name as a talented musician?"

steven said...

hi alanboy, i like pieces of philip's operatic music. like pieces of einstein on the beach, but my favourite material is his chamber music, or solo piano. thanks for dropping by alan. love dad

steven said...

hi willow, i knew that he'd struggled financially and was a taxi driver but that anecdote is too funny!!!! i wonder what he replied to her with?!! have a lovely day willow. steven

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the music of whales and of the wind which I like very much.

As far as the Olympus blog, my son would have to do that as he is a fanatic when it comes to those cameras. I think he has photographed more nudes with that camera model than any other, including the biggies.

steven said...

hi abe - i love that perception of this piece of music - it's one that i couldn't hear until you wrote it, so thankyou!!! i'm not entirely serious about the olympus blog by the way. i photograph by the seat of my pants - which is why so many of my pics just don't have that je ne c'est quoi!!! have a great day abe. i'm off on another big bike ride and won't be back 'till tomorrow afternoon. steven

Titus said...

I think that must be the first Glass I've heard apart from some film scores. I read your post and felt all intelligent as I thought he wrote "The Death of Klinghoffer", which I really enjoyed, but then found out he didn't.
I listened to the whole track and I don't think it's really to my taste, but thank you for the introduction. Have a lovely day, or evening, whatever it is over there!

steven said...

hi titus, you're brave to give it a listen. i try to keep an open mind about music and have a very broad and large collection of genres and artists but even there sometimes an artist i love produces something that just doesn't hum with me so i move on!!! thanks for listening. steven

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

That's a very interesting piece by Glass. For some reason I am surprised to see that Paul Simon wrote the lyrics, but I like the title & the phrase "it's the hum of changing opinion or a foreign language in prayer".

Thanks for sharing. Lizzy

Eryl Shields said...

I love his music in films, but I've never been able to listen to it for very long on its own. Something about it makes me itch for movement. s

Sophia said...

I have not heard of Phillip Glass before, but I am glad you shared about him on your blog. I listened to the song and he has such a powerful, yet soothing voice. And hat a powerful songwriter (Paul Simon). Thanks, Steven! :)

Friko said...

Hi steven, for some time I have been following your comments on napple notes and finally decided to come and visit you. What a bit of luck I did; music, poetry and a thought or two, just the sort of blog to delight this reader.
Philip Glass and Paul Simon, what a combination. see you soon.

BTW it's the middle of the night, can't sleep and am going blog-hopping.

steven said...

hi lizzy, this was an entirely different album for him and i guess they were thinking of grabbing all the cool, slightly left-of-centre pop musicians and pairing them with glass to see what would happen. i like the album as a whole and some of the lyrics are especially good. thanks for giving it a listen! steven

steven said...

hi sophia, he's an acquired tatste and for most people a taste that is heard once and then not returned to. i get that actually. i'm very selective about which of his works i listen to even though i appreciate his music. thanks for visiting. steven

steven said...

hi friko, i'm glad that you dropped by. i'm very glad that you enjoy what is offered up in this blog. because it's really all sorts of stuff - whatever appeals to me in that moment i push the "post" button. i'll nip over and have a look-see at your little place. thanks for visiting and i hope to see you again!!! steven

Sixpence and a Blue Moon said...

Ah, Steven, thanks so much for posting this song. I have not heard of this wonderful artist before. I could listen to this over-and-over - it's moving... feels deep.


steven said...

hi sixpence, i'm glad you liked this - it's not easy music really and i love listening to techno, ambient, dance, classical, jazz, glitch you name it so my tastes run more to whatever i like in that moment, but this is a piece that i've really enjoyed for the most part since it was released. thanks for your kind comment. steven