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1000 Airplanes on the Roof ()


This collaboration with playwright David Henry Hwang and visual artist Jerome Sirlin premiered in a Viennese airport hangar in 1988, and it beats John Adams. Since Glass took to the stage and screen as his main career in the 1980s, he's repeated chord changes and arrangements to the point of hackwork. Even here, in fact, bits of dramatic musical emphasis are as fussy as his usual orchestral soundtrack work, some of them featuring Linda Ronstadt's high ooh-ing. Moments of pure schlock are crafted from the same old ostinatos, obbligatos, and harmonies once lit up by the electric Philip Glass Ensemble. But most of it works. For one thing, it contains more chord changes than the usual Glass stage or work. Another reason is that this is the last score Glass recorded exclusively with electric keyboards and woodwinds. The composer blends his numerous motifs into one galactic "Grey Cloud Over New York," rendered without a moment's hesitation by PGE vets Martin Goldray,Jack Kripl, Richard Peck, and Jon Gibson. They immediately reprise the nervous title overture into the relaxed schmaltz of "A Normal Man Running." With the sinister voice sampling in "Labyrinth" as a lone reminder that this is a piece for the stage, this it's one of Glass' superior stand-alone works. ~ John Young, Rovi Hide synopsis

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