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Ravished by Smiths’ Glass Works!,

300px-Philip_Glass_1I love Philip Glass’ music like I love the air I breathe. I have had the Kronos Quartet CD for these pieces for some time, which does not include the first quartet – the most unsettling in many ways, the most dissonent.

I recently went to a concert where the Smith Quartet – whom ISmith CD was unfamiliar with, played all 5 of the Quartets (Glass has written 8, but i believe he withdrew 3 of them as not being works he is satisfied with, so are not available on disc or mp3)

Any half way decent live concert will of course hold much more than a recording – the intensity of collective experience, what happens when musicians, music, audience connect and the energy, focus and presence of all continuously build the experience. That concert was extraordinary. Glass’ music often feels as if inhabits my body, I feel it, like breath, like blood, within bone, transformational. Indeed, at that concert, strangers turned to us in the interval, overwhelmed, as we were, saying words like ‘transforming, spiritual, beyond description’

This 5 years old recording cannot of course equal the live event, but it certainly points smith_quartet1the way to it. There is a great intensity, passion, inhabiting of the music in the Smiths’ playing, so i find it hard in some ways to sit still with this, the spiralling, dynamic quality of the music as it coils and uncoils, expands and condenses within this listener’s body. Salute, Smiths!

I am now busily investigating what else the Smiths have recorded – Different Trains and am looking forward to hearing how this compares to the version I already have Different Trains / Electric Counterpoint

Smith Quartet – Philip Glass