Pianist Bruce Brubaker on Molecular Piano Playing

Sunday, September 09, 2012

"Happy 75th Birthday Philip! You've made me a better pianist, a more perceptive musician and let the world hear itself better."

It's not idle praise. The intense focus and pattern-repetition of Philip's music really has improved my piano playing — I'm thinking about a piece like Mad Rush. In such music, a pianist's left hand has to behave like a second right hand. The two hands synchronize extended passages of rapid notes. In quieter parts of this music, as I've developed better capacity to coordinate intricate events — now I sometimes relax, or let go of it. Philip's music has made me an expert on the nuances of 2 against 3!

The ability to hear shifts of emphasis and modifications of rhythmic delivery certainly grows in subtlety as a result of playing a lot of pieces by Glass. I've termed it "molecular piano playing."

And then there's the awareness (I'm not calling it "management") of time. As cycles repeat, as long, long lines continue, a musician's time-sense can be enhanced greatly. The clear awareness/perception of music as it unfolds on and on in real time, without the player exerting conscious "control" seems to me very important.

I've been asked if I think Philip's music will be played in 100 years. I believe I don't care. It has so well allowed so many people living in a time to hear time — that's what matters.


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