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Freaky Repost: Einstein on the Beach

Posted by purplemary54 on September 27, 2013

There are still tickets available for this.  I’ve been so topsy-turvy lately, I just now checked for availability.  Maybe it’s time to call the BFF.

The Los Angeles Times recently reported that the Los Angeles Opera will be performing Philip Glass and Robert Wilson’s 1976 opera Einstein on the Beach as part of their new season.  Now, I’ve been reading a lot about Glass in Love Goes to Buildings on Fire, since those few years were formative for him.  I’ve been intrigued about the descriptions of Glass’s minimalism, but I’d really never heard anything by him.  I just know him by reputation, so I figured this announcement was further cosmic reinforcement that maybe I ought to give Glass a chance.

Minimalism is a style of music that relies heavily on repetition, and Philip Glass is considered one of the masters of it.  I can understand why people would find his work boring or difficult; this stuff is not for the faint of heart or the easily bored.  But there is something compellingly hypnotic about this music.  The repetition forces you to pay attention.  Every change in tone or rhythm is amplified–you simply notice everything.  But it’s lulling as well.  You get caught up in the repeated mantras and notes that when something does change, you’re startled out of yourself.  Another interesting aspect is that the repeated words begin to seem like they’re a foreign language.  There’s clearly something deeply unique happening here; there’s also something deeply strange.  What I think Einstein on the Beach accomplishes is to take the everyday world and make it new.  This is to music what Modernism was to Literature, what Cubism was to Art: a new way of seeing.  There’s also a very Zen quality to all of it, which appeals to me greatly.  If I can find anyone I think will be able to handle it, I think I’d like to go see Einstein on the Beach when it premieres in October.

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