The fact that the work begins in D minor, like Beethoven's and Bruckner's Ninths, suggests Glass was not entirely unaware of the tradition he was continuing, though his idea of symphonic dialectic is, of course, worlds away from theirs and the subsequent movements - the hypnotically drifting, beautiful second, and the more urgent, slightly troubled third - are in A and E respectively. If the music occasionally hangs fire, its craftsmanship, as ever with Glass, is exemplary.Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 6/14/2012
It may be a little premature to admit Glass's Ninthinto the 'number nine' select group of Beethoven, Bruckner, Mahler et al but he has without doubt composed a work of real substance here - in content, design and expressive weight. It is also one of his most unified and complete.
The ominous oscillating major - and minor - third figure over a pedal B that opens the first movement has arguably become a Glass cliché but the way in which he maps its diverse course across the work's structure certainly isn't. The motif reappears at the beginning of the second movement, underpinning a moment of serene calmness and beauty, before reaching a bittersweet apotheosis during the climactic final section of the third movement - its major-minor properties now synthesised into an immense doom-laden, angst-ridden chord. This may not be 'development' in the Beethovian sense but Glass's inventory of repetitive patterns and rising and falling shapes accumulate to form a musical narrative that is as 'symphonic' as anything written before. Pwyll ap Siôn, gramophone.co.uk, 9/1/2012