Words Without Music
A MemoirBook - 2015 | First edition
A world-renowned composer of symphonies, operas, and film scores, Glass has, almost single-handedly, crafted the dominant sound of late-twentieth-century classical music. Here his behind-the-scenes recollections allow readers to experience those moments of creative fusion when life so magically merged with art. From his childhood in post-World War II Baltimore to his student days in Chicago, at Julliard, and his first journey to Paris, where he studied under the formidable Nadia Boulanger, Glass movingly recalls his early mentors, while reconstructing the places that helped shape his artistic consciousness.
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"Straightaway I had the following though: Drawing is about seeing, dancing is about moving, writing (narrative and especially poetry) is about speaking, and music is about hearing. I next realized that music training was absolutely about learning to hear—going completely past everyday listening. And that was, for Mlle. Boulanger and Mlle.Deudonne, the core of their training.
I never did get my “seeing” lessons from Richard, so I never did learn to draw. We were always busy with seeing his work, which I learned to do quite well. But the ability to see creatively, the way a visual artist could, always remained beyond my abilities. However, my future work in opera—using text, movement, image, and music—would place me in an active relationship with other “seers” and became a great source of growth and satisfaction.”
"When someone says 'How do you write music for a film?' I say to them truthfully, 'I look at the film and I write down the music.' I don't make music to go with the film, I write the music that 'is' the film. ... This alignment is made through a conscious, nonverbal, contemplative activity. Once the alignment between [the composer] and the dramatic material is estalbished, a link is made on a deep, nonconceptual level between the material and one's inner musical voice (p. 392)".
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