Philip Glass's Latest Meditative Score for Godfrey Reggio

Q2 Music Album of the Week for February 3, 2014

Monday, February 03, 2014

In his fourth feature collaboration with influential writer and director Godfrey Reggio, Philip Glass has written the score for "Visitors," a movie that, according to one review, is "a cinematic experience that is beyond words."

Glass's relationship with Reggio began over 30 years ago with "Koyaanisqatsi," a work that revolutionized film and brought about an entirely new genre, void of a narrative and filled with beautiful time-lapse images. The score gained considerable popularity and has been performed around the world live by the Philip Glass Ensemble, accompanied by a projection of the film. 1988's "Powaqqatsi" and 2002's "Naqoyqatsi" completed the Qatsi trilogy.

"Visitors," their first work since the trilogy, is made up of images of human faces, cityscapes and other powerful scenes. "A visceral form of cinema," said Reggio in a video about the film, whose goal is to create emotion, rather than a story. What Glass's score brings is a connection between the image and spectator, in what he and Reggio hope will evoke a unique experience for each individual.

Glass and Reggio worked closely making this film, and the two components were made in tandem, rather than the music being scored to the image. Performed with sweeping elegance by the Bruckner Orchester Linz conducted by Dennis Russell Davies, the music is deliberate and poetic.

In an article in The Forward, Jay Michaelson concludes that this slower paced work that touches on themes of life and death is a reflection on Glass's and Reggio's age. Michaelson calls Glass "an established master on his way to being kind of a legend." Whether his three Academy Award nominations and numerous other contributions to the cinema world classify him as a film score master or legend in your book, the score for "Visitors" is mysterious, meditative and deeply moving.

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Comments [3]

Luigi Esparza from Peru

Pure genius! Love Philip and Godfrey together :P

Feb. 09 2014 12:59 PM
javier from mexico

The last to movements are astonishing. I hope they do live cinema presentations... and in Mexico.. jeje

Feb. 05 2014 08:05 PM
beatrix van Til from Amsterdam

une pure merveille, can wait to see it .. gracias thank you voor being so intensly connected with life !! merci de tout coeur van harte dank

Feb. 05 2014 04:28 AM

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Q2 Music's Album of the Week is our weekly review of the newest and most dynamic contemporary classical releases. It focuses on musical discovery, world premiere recordings and fresh perspectives on today's classical landscape. Read our review and stream the album on-demand for one week only at


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