PHILIP GLASS (b.1937): Kepler.

Catalogue Number: 02M087

Label: Orange Mountain Music

Reference: OMM 0071

Format: CD

Price: $35.98

Description: This opera deals with the philosophical and mathematical investigations of the great astronomer, rather than with his biography. The only character, as such, is Kepler himself, and other soloists appear to formulate questions that might have been asked by religious figures or his peers among the scientific community, with which he wrestled. Kepler's work on planetary motion was based on a conviction that mathematical order was at the heart of God's design for the universe, so the libretto consists of an internal monologue between Kepler's developing theories, the Biblical depiction of creation, and some episodes placing the astronomer's character and self-appraisal in context. That the main dramatic action of the opera is the progression from planetary orbits being described in terms of nested geometrical figures via ovals to the final revelation of elliptical paths travelled at varying velocities might be seen as a limiting factor, but the precise patterns of Glass' music provides an ideal medium for this kind of abstract drama of ideas. And besides, the uneasy relationship between astronomy, astrology and religion provides internal tensions that are well expressed by the Glass' characteristic chromatic disturbances within his familiar tonal idiom. There are no radical departures here from the vocabulary of Glass' earlier operas - Satyagraha, Akhnaten, ...Representative... - but this is a thoroughly satisfying essay in his (arguably) most successful genre. 2 CDs. Libretto included. Martin Achrainer (baritone), Cassandra McConnell, Karen Robertson (sopranos), Katerina Hebelková (mezzo), Pedro Velázquez Diaz (tenor), Soloists and Chorus of the Landestheater Linz, Bruckner Orchestra Linz; Dennis Russell Davies.

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