Philip Glass: Metamorphosis, The Hours (2012)

Glass

Lavinia Meijer

My first encounter with Philip Glass in 2011 was truly one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. As a harpist, I feel greatly privileged to have such new experiences – not only on stage but also behind the scenes. 

Collaboration with composers is an important aspect of this, and new ideas do not infrequently arise through personal encounters and mutual inspiration. This was certainly the case when I met Phil, who had never before heard his Metamorphosis live on the harp. After my initial nervousness, tension soon melted away when I played the opening bars and he remarked “that sounds beautiful!”.

After this special encounter, I looked into other pieces by Glass that could be played on the harp. I had heard him play the Opening Piece from ‘Glassworks’ himself, a very beautiful piece in its seemingly unending interchange between the two hands. The film music for The Hours was more tricky challenge. After examining the original score and the piano version I came to the conclusion that not all the movements could be arranged for the harp. But I managed to adapt six of the eleven numbers, working them out with the sound of the orchestral version in mind. I hope this album will add an extra dimension to the performance practice of Glass’s most frequently performed works.

-- Lavinia Meijer

This album of transcriptions of Philip Glass' music for harp, created by Korean-Dutch harpist Lavinia Meijer herself, comes pre-approved by the composer, who heard Meijer playing the transcriptions of Metamorphosis (1988) and encouraged her to pursue further experiments in the same vein.

You can see what he liked about the harp in his music. On one hand, it's a close substitute for a piano, which is involved in the originals of all three of these transcriptions. The excerpts from The Hours (tracks 7-12) were transcribed from a piano version of the original Nicole Kidman film soundtrack score, and unsurprisingly Meijer said that of the three works, that one gave her the most trouble.

But the harp is not equivalent to the piano in Glass' textures. Instead, with its greater variety of sonorities and attacks. It adds a slight elaboration to Glass' basic structures. And this is where the sound must have caught the composer's attention.  The kind of details Meijer adds to the music is the same as what Glass himself has added to his music over the years.

The result is an unusually satisfying way to encounter the music of Philip Glass, even though he, unlike Arvo Pärt, has rarely been subject to transcription. Audiophiles may have their own reasons for acquiring this release. Channel Classics' DSD recording does an astonishingly good job in capturing the tonal subtleties of the harp.

-- James Manheim, All Music

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Lavinia Meijer

Lavinia Meijer (born in South-Korea, 1983 and adopted into a Dutch family) started to play the harp at the age of 9. Within two years she was admissioned to study at the young talent class of the conservatory of Utrecht (Bachelor) and later at the conservatory of Amsterdam (Master). At both conservatories she graduated with Honours. Erika Waardenburg has been Lavinia’s principal teacher.

Her success at the conservatory of Amsterdam was a prelude on Lavinia’s career to come. She performed only contemporary compositions at her graduation concert, making a firm statement already: Lavinia is here to add new chapters to the history of music.

Besides performing the classic harp repertoire, Lavinia also experiments with electronic music, theatrical music, contemporary music, modern classics, jazz and pop. Several composers e.g. Paul Patterson (UK), Garrett Byrnes, and Jacob TV (Netherlands) have dedicated new compositions to her.

Already at a young age, Lavinia competed in several international harp competitions, winning prizes in the USA, France, Switserland, Israel, and Austria. Soon after her graduation Lavinia received the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship (London, 2006). In 2007 Lavinia was heralded as the “Rising Star” musician of her generation. She performed solo-recitals at concert halls like Musikverein (Vienna), Carnegie Hall (New York), Philharmonie (Köln), Jerusalem Theater, Seoul Arts Center, Royal Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Cité-de-la-Musique (Paris), Konzerthus (Stockholm), and Symphony Hall (Birmingham, UK).

In 2009, at the young age of 26, Lavinia received the highest distinction for a classical musician in the Netherlands: the Dutch Music Prize. In 2011 she was the recipient of an Edison Award for her album Fantasies & Impromptus

As a featured soloist, Lavinia performed harp concertos with renowned orchestras, such as Royal Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra Amsterdam, Israel Philharmonics, Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Noord Nederlands Orkest, and Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. She performed with conductors such as Thierry Fischer, Frans Brüggen, Hannu Lintu, Thomas Ades and Marco Boni.

Her broad interest to find new sounds on and new compositions for the harp has let her to meet the American composer Philip Glass in 2011. He invited her to his concert in Amsterdam where she performed his Metamorphosis I-V on the harp. “You are the special effect of this evening”, he told Lavinia after the show, and he supported Lavinia to record a full album of Glass’ compostions. The result was overwhelming. Metamorphosis/The Hours received mostly 5 star reviews (not just in the Dutch press), and reached the certified Platinum status within half a year.

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Philip Glass: Metamorphosis, The Hours (2012)

Glass

Lavinia Meijer

    MusicWeb International

For Philip Glass on harp, Lavinia Meijer is my first choice. It’s probably one of my favorite Glass albums overall.

    Gramophone

When Glass’s music is transferred to the harp: its softer rounder qualities add expressive depth to the music. She does not push the music around too much, and the opening track from Glassworks almost announces itself with a whisper. Her playing in the Metamorphosis cycle is firmer and more restrained, but what is sometimes lost in intensity is made up in clarity and focus.

    BBC Music Magazine -

These arrangements of pieces by Philip Glass work very well on the harp, particularly in these meticulously concentrated performances by Meijer. The effect is mesmeric.

    All Music -

This album of transcriptions of Philip Glass' music for harp, created by Korean-Dutch harpist Lavinia Meijer herself, comes pre-approved by the composer, who heard Meijer playing the transcriptions of Metamorphosis (1988) and encouraged her to pursue further experiments in the same vein. You can see what he liked about the harp in his music. On one hand, it's a close substitute for a piano, which is involved in the originals of all three of these transcriptions. The excerpts from The Hours (tracks 7-12) were transcribed from a piano version of the original Nicole Kidman film soundtrack score, and unsurprisingly Meijer said that of the three works, that one gave her the most trouble. But the harp is not equivalent to the piano in Glass' textures. Instead, with its greater variety of sonorities and attacks. It adds a slight elaboration to Glass' basic structures. And this is where the sound must have caught the composer's attention. The kind of details Meijer adds to the music is the same as what Glass himself has added to his music over the years. The result is an unusually satisfying way to encounter the music of Philip Glass, even though he, unlike Arvo Pärt, has rarely been subject to transcription. Audiophiles may have their own reasons for acquiring this release. Channel Classics' DSD recording does an astonishingly good job in capturing the tonal subtleties of the harp.

James Manheim[read full review]

    Positive Feedback | NativeDSD Album of the Week

"When I first heard that the brilliant Jared Sacks of Channel Classics was going to release the music of Philip Glass on harp...harp!...one of my favorite solo instruments...I could scarcely credit it. Glass? On harp? But given my enduring love of the harp, I gave it a try. I’m delighted that I did! This opening track from Lavinia Meijer’s Glass – Metamorphosis, The Hours, recorded directly to Single DSD, gives you a sense for Meijer’s mastery of her instrument, and the amazing feel that she projects in this wonderful recording. It won’t take long for you to see why I’ve led our sampler with this haunting selection. The entire album partakes of the same sense of calm, contemplative reverie that is here. If you don’t have this album, I strongly suggest that you purchase it...it’s a real treasure. By the way, I should mention that this album went on to become an enormous bestseller, at last count (2015) selling over 25,000 copies on SACD alone...in the Netherlands alone!" - from the booklet of the album NDSD006 'Positive Feedback DSD Sampler'

David W. Robinson

    HVT

(...) een pracht van een SuperAudio-CD, mede dankzij Jared Sacks. Om stil van te worden.

    Audiophilereview.com

I closed my eyes and slowly turned myself around in the room while listening. It felt like I was really almost inside the Harp or at minimum really close to it. (…)This is Philip Glass you could play for your grandmother and your hipster nephew and they both would find something engaging and enjoyable about it.

Audiophilereview.com

    Musicframes.nl

(...) in een stabiele cadans houdt ze de muziek in evenwicht, tilt ze de melodie uit het spectrum en zorgt ze voor de naadloze rimpeling op het water. (...)

Musicframes.nl

    De Gelderlander

Het zou wel eens dé cd van dit najaar kunnen zijn. (…) Lavinia Meijer creëerde een cd vol tovermuziek (…) Lavinia Meijer is nu eenmaal niet slechts in staat een goddelijke klank te maken, ze verstaat ook de kunst om met een minimum aan materiaal een enorme spanning op te bouwen. (…) pas op, verslaving dreigt.

    Trouw -

En weer treft harpiste Lavinia Meijer bull’s eye! (...) een hallucinerend mooi recital (...) een fascinerende cd in alle opzichten, inclusief het intrigerende hoesje. 5 stars

    Nederlands Dagblad

Op deze cd laat Lavinia Meijer overtuigend horen dat veel van Glass’ pianomuziek uitstekend op harp uit te voeren is. (…) Ze bewijst weer dat ze tot de top van de Nederlandse harpisten behoort.

    De Telegraaf -

Philip Glass componeert minimal music, een vorm van muziek zonder tanden. Is het leven niet te mooi om zo weinig te laten gebeuren? Desondanks kan een glansrijke uitvoering het nodige goedmaken. Het beste voorbeeld is de nieuwe cd van Lavinia Meijer. Zij heeft klavierwerken van Glass voor harp bewerkt, met de zegen van de componist. Inhoudelijk gebeurt er nog steeds weinig tot niets, maar de betoverende klankpracht en de concentratie zijn hier waarden op zich.Deze opname van Channel Classics is niet aan te slepen en staat inmiddels nummer vier in de poplijsten. De vijf sterren zijn uitdrukkelijk voor Lavinia Meijer, niet voor Glass. 5 stars

    Akkoord

alles klopt aan deze uitvoering (...) Meijer weet een haast Amélie-achtige sfeer te creëren: filmisch, beelden, rustgevend en spannend tegelijk. (...) En ook op deze cd - haar vierde soloalbum – is haar spel wat je van een topharpiste mag verwachten: precies, vol drive en gevoel.

    Audiophile Audition

All five movements of Glass’ 1988 Metamorphosis transcribe perfectly to harp (...) the harp brings out some sonorities in the music that are quite different from the piano. The dynamic range on some selections is quite wide, which you wouldn’t expect from a solo instrument. (...)

    Opusklassiek

geen betere pleitbezorgster voor deze 'minimal music' dan 'onze' Lavinia Meijer die haar volle muzikale gewicht én overtuiging in de bewerking en vertolking van deze stukken heeft gelegd. Dat hoor je; sterker nog, je proeft het bijna. (...) Een zéér groot talent, deze Lavinia Meijer. (...) Wie niet van de muziek van Philip Glass houd mist iets heel bijzonders: het glorieuze spel van Lavinia Meijer.

    Classics Today -

Lavinia Meijer is a fabulous harpist with a silky touch and a voloptuous timbre, and she's stunningly well recorded in SACD surround sound. 9/10

    Blog Critics

The new Channel Classics release of Metamorphosis, The Hours is on the Super Audio Compact Disc format, which gives it an incredible depth when played on surround sound. (...) It is still very early in the year, but I must say that Metamorphosis, The Hours is the finest classical recording of 2013 I have heard so far. Blog Critics

Philip Glass: Metamorphosis, The Hours (2012)

Glass

Lavinia Meijer

Cables: Van Den Hul 3t
Digital Converters: Grimm A/D DSD / Meitner DA
Mastering Engineer: Jared Sacks
Mastering Equipment: B&W 803 diamond series
Microphones: Bruel & Kjaer, Schoeps
Mixing Board: Rens Heijnis custom design
Producer: Jared Sacks
Recording Engineer: Jared Sacks
Recording Software: Pyramix bij Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64
Speakers: Audiolab, Holland

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33912: Philip Glass: Metamorphosis, The Hours
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Tracks.
1.
Opening Piece From Glassworks
Glass
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2.
Metamorphosis - One, Moderate
Glass
00:07:40   Select quality & channels above
3.
Metamorphosis - Two, Flowing
Glass
00:08:38   Select quality & channels above
4.
Metamorphosis - Three, Moderately Fast
Glass
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5.
Metamorphosis - Four, Flowing
Glass
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6.
Metamorphosis - Five, Moderate
Glass
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7.
Selection From The Hours - The Poet Acts
Glass
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8.
Selection From The Hours - Something She Has to Do
Glass
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9.
Selection From The Hours - I?m Going to Make a Cake
Glass
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10.
Selection From The Hours - An Unwelcome Friend
Glass
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11.
Selection From The Hours - Choosing Life
Glass
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12.
Selection From The Hours - The Hours
Glass
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