My recent trip to Italy passed only briefly through Paris, where the Richard Serra exhibit Monumenta 2008, at the Grand Palais, ends on Sunday. One of the musical events associated with the show was a solo piano recital by Serra's friend Philip Glass. Renaud Machart wrote a review (Philip Glass chez Richard Serra, June 10) for Le Monde (my translation):
The crowd, decidedly young and "bobo" [BOurgeois BOhème], seated even on the floor around the piano, came because Glass is a sort of star. Many have forgotten or have never heard his more austere first compositions from the 1960s, based on a fistful of notes (for example, 600 Lines, from 1968), and know Glass only through his film scores (for Stephen Daldry's The Hours, for example), repetitive and languid like the tide, which brought him commercial success.Pascal Dusapin also gave a concert around the opening of the exhibit.
The music written by Glass in the last thirty years, especially that he played at the piano at the Grand Palais, is a harmonic canvas barely more complicated than that of the songs of Richard Clayderman [ouch!]. Glass's fans will answer that the "poverty" is the essence of this art and that, on that account, the works of Richard Serra on exhibit are hardly more refined than gigantic steel plates, slightly rusty, in an abandoned navy yard. But the true difference is that Philip Glass's music is sentimental, the opposite of Serra's work.