As part of Philip Glass’ 75th birthday year in 2012, I composed a Rhapsody based on a 3-chord progression from Philip Glass’ score for “Koyaaniqatsi”. It was done for a group of new composers influenced by his work. The approximately 8-minute piece is scored for full orchestra and solo piano.
I began by taking a 3-chord “theme”, from his wonderful score from the film “Koyaaniqatsi”, which had a profound influence on me as a young musician. After an initial statement of this very simplistic theme, the piece dives into a set of 3 variations:
Los Angeles (0:20):
The first variation recalls the style of some of Glass’ early movie soundtracks, using simple repetition and rhythm to generate energy.
The second variation starts with a Bodhran (a traditional Irish tuned drum), inverts the chord progression, and builds a folk-tune melody of running triplets that moves through the entire orchestra.
New York (5:20):
After a brief return to the original theme, the final variation pays homage to Glass’ adopted home city and it’s Jazz heritage. It begins with a piano solo, grows to include the entire orchestra and includes a clarinet reference to Ira Gershwin’s own Rhapsody, and a boisterous finale.
Listen to Rhapsody on a Theme by Philip Glass
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