• Philip Glass
  • Symphony No. 1 'Low' (1992)

  • Dunvagen Music Publishers Inc (World)

From the music of David Bowie and Brian Eno

  • 2+pic.22+Ebcl+bcl.2/4331/4perc/hp.pf/str(
  • 42 min

Programme Note

The 'Low' Symphony, 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.

In creating the Symphony, I took themes from three of the instrumentals on the record and, combining them with material of my own, used them as the basis of three movements of the piece. Movement I comes from 'Subterraneans,' Movement II from 'Some Are' and Movement III from 'Warszawa'. 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 wherever 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