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Philip Glass

Publisher: Chester Music

Orion (2004)
A commission of the Cultural Olmpiad 2001-2004
Dunvagen Music Publishers Inc
Soloist(s) and Large Ensemble (7 or more players)
Year Composed
1 Hour 30 Minutes
alto, soprano, sitar, pipa, didgeridoo, kora, violin
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Programme Note
Philip Glass Orion (2004)
The "Orion" work was commissioned by the Cultural Olympiad 2004 and received its premiere performance in Athens, June 2004, just before the Olympic Games. To mark this special event I chose to collaborate with a group of established musicians and composers - a group whose multiethnic origins reflect the international nature of the Olympiad itself.

Just as cultures are linked by shared themes, a common history and customs, so we - each separately and all together - are linked by the common quality of the natural world: rivers, oceans, our environment, its forests and mountains. And stars. Man has gazed up at the stars since the birth of humanity. This is the origin of astrology, astronomy, the measurement of the seasons and the first steps of science. I believe there is no single experience in the world which tells us more than the vastness of space, and the innumerable heavenly bodies. And thus the stars form a bond between us all - regardless of country, nationality, regardless even of time.

Orion, the largest constellation in the night sky, can be seen at all times of year, from both hemispheres. It seems that almost every civilisation has created myths and drawn inspiration from Orion. As the project advanced each of the musicians and composers, myself included, used part of this inspiration to aid us in our creative task.

And so the star-studded skies, seen from every corner of our planet, inspired us to present a multicultural, international, musical composition.

Philip Glass

  • Ensemble
    Foday Musa Suso (kora), Mark Atkins (didj), Ashley MacIsaac (fiddle), Wu-man (pipa)
    Michael Riesman
    Orange Mountain Music:
While other post-minimalist composers have experimented with saturated hues and splashes of pigment, Glass makes the most of a thousand shades of grey.
John L Walters, Guardian,16/06/2004
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