Barnes and Glass
Marvin Cohodas | Vancouver, BC, Canada | 03/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"According to my itunes program, I've listened to the first three tracks of this album over 70 times! And I like it more each time.
These tracks comprise the solo transcription of Philip Glass' second piano concerto, the Lewis and Clark concerto, arguably his most beautiful contribution to the concerto genre. Barnes skillfully makes it possible to distinguish the solo line and orchestral accompaniment with only the piano, maintaining the clarity and transparency of the original work. But this is not a slavish imitation. Barnes adds a particular stamp to the solo work that differentiates it from his own recording of the full orchestral version. While the original version created three very distinct moods for the three movements, taking the listener on the kind of scripted spiritual journey that is a Glass trademark, Barnes' solo version is more uniform in its approach. Most distinct is the final movement, much shorter in the solo piano version and maintaining the driving momentum of the first movement, in contrast to the meditative quality of the orchestral version. Both are absolutely valid versions and I wouldn't want to give either of them up.
I'm not familiar enough with the Barber and Tower pieces on the disk to comment on them, but I'm going back to hearing Barnes' solo version of the Lewis and Clark concerto a few more times. I can't get enough of it."