Title - 'Valentina Lisitsa Plays Philip Glass'
Artist - Valentina Lisitsa
For those not in the classical know, Ukrainian Valentina Lisitsa is a classically trained pianist who currently resides in North Carolina. Indeed, Lisitsa is among the most frequently viewed pianists on YouTube and is often praised as a highly commendable pianist. Lisitsa followed a unique path to success, independently launching the beginnings of her career via social media, without initially signing to a tour promoter or record company!
And so Lisitsa has just released a delightful selection of the most special pieces for solo piano by Philip Glass, whose brand of minimalism has made him one of the most influential composers of our time. Valentina Lisitsa plays Philip Glass brings together two artists with enormous followings, a truly winning combination. Minimalism has never been so big.
The most substantial piece in the collection is the mesmerising 30-minute 'How Now', one of the first compositions written for the Philip Glass Ensemble in 1968. Also featured is 'Metamorphosis', a five-movement work of music for a theatrical adaptation of Kafka's play of the same name. Other tracks include the iconic 'Mad Rush', which Glass performed at the first public appearance of the 14th Dalai Lama in New York City in 1981 and 'Mishima / Closing', part of the soundtrack to the 1985 film Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters.
In truth, one of the most difficult things to do in music is to maintain structure and at the same time allow the piece to sing. I've listened to Lisitsa for a few years now and she is one of a handful of pianists who seems to do this with ease (though it is probably done after thousands of hours of practice). Minimalism in music can sound sterile if insufficient attention is paid to the lyricism in the piece. I think listeners will be very satisfied with these performances.