This DVD is an excellent way to explore the composer, Philip Glass, and to learn about the man – as a human being – as well as about his music. The movie is also out of the ordinary, beautiful, humorous, spiritual, and very interesting. The cinematography is also superior to ordinary documentaries. It’s fast paced and could have easily been much longer.
My sense of Mr. Glass is that he is smart, highly educated (University of Chicago, Julliard, and study of composition in Paris with Nadja Boulanger), and he is totally committed to music composition. He’s a human being too, as the film vividly illustrates. He is simply an amazing man, yet struggles with the demands of life as all of us do, working to create balance among many forces.
Scott Hicks, the Director of this movie, followed Mr. Glass around the world for approximately two years as he worked on composing his Symphony No. 8, and his opera “Waiting for the Barbarians”.
Philip Glass turns out to be a wonderfully warm-hearted, endearing human being with a neat sense of humor, who has led a life that fully embraces all of life’s possibilities–at the age of 70.
Some of the key messages raised by this DVD are:
A. Surround yourself with a network of gifted very different individuals, and have regular quality time with them.
B. Your Craft is about letting your uniqueness come through; Glass certainly does not worry whether anyone likes his music!
C. Have a portfolio of activities that emphasize your uniqueness – for Glass this is represented by meditation and physical exercises with different expert teachers, as well as family life, and his community of friends.
D. Moving between city life (NYC) and a wilderness/quiet farm setting helps to keep you young.
Here is a video of Philip Glass playing piano at his home:
And here’s a video of a rehearsal of Glass’ Violin Concerto, with Gideon Kremer: