GLASS Mad Rush. Metamorphoses I-V
'Yet another disc of Glass piano music,’ I hear you say; but before you start scanning the other columns on this page in search of a more relevant review, let me tell you – this one is worthy of serious consideration.
Of course, there already exist a number of fine recordings of Glass’s piano music (Lenehan, Namekawa, Schleiermacher and Whitwell, to name but a few) and it is perhaps surprising that Lisa Moore’s name is only now being added to this list, given her reputation as one of minimalist music’s finest exponents. But fine wine always benefits from being allowed to mature; and what becomes abundantly clear from listening to almost any bar on this recording is Moore’s highly developed, intuitive and nuanced approach to this music, one which has been allowed to evolve and refine over a number of years.
This maturity is achieved without compromise, however. An edge and physicality, most likely honed through years of playing with the Bang on a Can ensemble, is evident throughout. Take the title-track, Mad Rush, for example. On Sally Whitwell’s recording (ABC Classics, A/14), the three-against-two patterns of the opening create a nervous intensity; she then opts for a dense ‘wall of sound’ in the ensuing fast section. Moore takes a different approach. She sets up far more dramatic juxtapositions between these two sections by keeping the opening understated and subdued before going for all-out drama in the rapid passages. Both approaches work, of course, but the latter enables Moore to take full control of the piece’s overall form.
In the performance of Glass’s Etude No 2, Moore’s muscularity is even more evident, especially towards the end. It is far more dynamic and free-flowing than Namekawa’s recording (OMM, 2/15), which sounds pedestrian and almost lifeless by comparison. The second movement from Glass’s Trilogy Sonata (a transcription of the concluding scene from his opera Satyagraha) is also dispatched with focus and flair. Too many Glass recordings? Moore’s disc more than argues its case for inclusion.