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Glass: Satyagraha

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Glass: Satyagraha

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Satyagraha remains, decades after its composition, one of Philip Glass's most traditional works. An emphasis on strings and on courtly, European-toned small choruses lends the opera a sense of musical familiarity rarely evidenced in the composer's extensive catalog. The libretto, though written in Sanskrit, is often mistakable, sonorously, for Italian. Satyagraha's relative independence from the internecine Indian raga-like patterns of the composer's other long-form work is particularly ironic given the opera's subject: Mahatma Ghandi, whose native country's ritual culture and spiritual heritage have long informed Glass's music. This is no dramatic biography; following a mythological gambit, the scenes focus on a handful of specific events in Ghandi's long life (the construction of a communal farm, his tumultuous arrival in Durban, the publication of the weekly broadside Indian Opinion). Pointedly, the opera is an international affair, each of its three acts referencing a major cultural figure: Leo Tolstoy, Rabindranath Tagore, and Martin Luther King Jr. The music is most interesting when Glass draws parallels between his patented, minimalist patterns and standard classical mode. --Marc Weidenbaum

Glass: Satyagraha

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