Magazine article Musical Opinion

Koyaanisqatsi

Magazine article Musical Opinion

Koyaanisqatsi

Article excerpt

Barbican

Koyaanisqatsi, the seminal film by Godfrey Reggio is, for those that don't know the work, an abstract series of speeded-up and slow-motion scenes of American life set to a score by Philip Glass from 1982. To celebrate Glass's 75th birthday the film was shown with a live orchestra and singers on December 14 at Barbican Hall. Glass seems at times to use notes in the way that a greedy man uses butter, thick and deep and indiscriminate; this is to miss the point. Undoubtedly there are, at times too many for many to appreciate or countenance, but the point is as much about density and relative density as much as quantity; about the when and the how, along with the sudden tempo changes and singular starkness of an oboe or saxophone relative to the whole.

Originally scored for just six voices and The Philip Glass Ensemble it was here expanded to a full orchestral version of the score with the addition of the Britten Sinfonia and the Trinity Laban Choir. …

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