PHILIP GLASS (b.1937): The Passion of Ramakrishna.
Catalogue Number: 10O079
Label: Orange Mountain Music
Description: Glass' 2006 cantata is a tribute to the 19th-century Hindu spiritual leader of the title. It largely consists of texts of his teachings, sung by the full chorus to lend them a kind of universality or overwhelming presence. Episodes of his life and death are interpolated using a small cast of characters sung by soloists. The texts are set in plain, narrative syllables for maximum intelligibility, with no textural or rhythmic complication to impede understanding; the resulting choral textures are the euphonic, impressively massed proclamations familiar from Glass' operas of the 1980s. The supple orchestral part, based on the composer's trademark oscillating figurations, carries much of the weight of providing variety and momentum to the musical texture. The subject is plainly an important one to the composer, and the result is a moving, somber but ultimately uplifting work of direct, uncomplicated expression. Libretto included. Janice Chamdler Eteme (soprano), I-Chin Feinblatt (mezzo), Christopher Nomura (baritone), Kevin Deas (bass), Nicholas Preston (tenor), Pacific Chorale and Symphony; Carl St. Clair.