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Monday, Feb. 27, 2012

Philip Glass

The Essential Philip Glass (Sony Classical)

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Few composers of “contemporary classical music,” much less opera, have found as large and welcome an audience as Philip Glass. The prolific composer and recording artist is honored for his 75th birthday with a triple-CD “best of” collection covering the late '70s through almost now. There is variation in his minimalist sound. “Lightning” and “Changing Opinion” sound indebted to Kraftwerk in one of Glass' rare deliberate overtures to the wide popular culture that found him on its own. Mostly, his music moves with the graceful solemnity and icy beauty of an iceberg in the sun. His operas (Satyagraha and Akhnaten are sampled here) are among the few recent works in that form gladly heard by audiences outside the conservatory.