September 20, 2024

Friday 20 September - State Theatre, Sydney
Sunday 29 September - Hamer Hall, Melbourne
Wednesday 2 October - His Majesty's Theatre, Perth

“HEROES” AND LOW SYMPHONIES by PHILIP GLASS from the music of DAVID BOWIE and BRIAN ENO

“HEROES” AND LOW SYMPHONIES
by PHILIP GLASS from the music of DAVID BOWIE and BRIAN ENO

 

In 1977 David Bowie abandoned the indulgences of his Thin White Duke LA existence and relocated to Berlin, where with electronic and ambient music architect Eno as producer, and in the shadow of the wall which divided the city, they created two of the most distinctive albums in rock history. 

Low and “Heroes” employed Eno’s bleak audio landscapes and Bowie’s evocative lyrics and sense of melody, to create brooding compositions and world building sonic collages.

Twenty years later influential composer and leading light in music with repetitive structures, Philip Glass, was in turn inspired by Bowie and Eno’s stark soundscapes to create two seminal classical works – the Low and “Heroes” symphonies. 

 

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In his symphonies Glass finds additional layers to the works which inspired him, and brings a sense of drama, emotional impact, and warmth to the chill of the original works.

 
“The “Low” Symphony (Symphony No. 1), composed in the Spring of 1992, is based on the record “Low” by David Bowie and Brian Eno, first released in 1977. The record consisted of a number of songs and instrumentals and used techniques which were similar to procedures used by composers working in new and experimental music. As such, this record was widely appreciated by musicians working both in the field of “pop” music and in experimental music, and was a landmark work of that period.

“The “Heroes” Symphony (Symphony No. 4 – composed 1996) is likewise based on the work of David Bowie and Eno. David and Brian combined influences from world music, experimental avant-garde, and rock & roll, and thereby redefined the future of popular music. The continuing influence of these works has secured their stature as part of the new “classics” of our time.

“Just as composers of the past have turned to music of their time to fashion new works, the work of Bowie and Eno became an inspiration and point of departure for a series of symphonies of my own. My approach was to treat the themes very much as if they were my own and allow their transformations to follow my own compositional bent when possible. In practice, however, Bowie and Eno’s music certainly influenced how I worked, leading me to sometimes surprising musical conclusions. In the end I think I arrived at something of a real collaboration between my music and theirs.” Philip Glass 

Here then is a wonderfully intense symphonic journey, which takes the musical essence of Bowie and Eno’s creations and re-expresses them through Glass’s unmistakeable and hypnotic brand of alchemy, setting the ghosts of the original works in poetic, shining relief, through the filter of another, equally iconoclastic and unique genius.

 

Friday 20 September – State Theatre, Sydney

Sunday 29 September – Hamer Hall, Melbourne

Wednesday 2 October – His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth