600 Lines and How Now were the first compositions written for the Philip Glass Ensemble which began to rehearse and perform regularly in 1968.
The purpose of this early ensemble music was two-fold - First, to extend and develop the music I had begun in 1965 based on repetitive and cyclic structures. Second, when broadening the performance to the ensemble of synthesizers and wind instruments, it was clear that a new performance technique would need to be developed. In fact, every new musical language requires new performance skills. When a musical language is truly new (even radical) there is no other way than to develop the appropriate method or technique of its performance.
Works such as How Now were, in effect, "practice" pieces for the new ensemble to develop those skills. These included, besides stamina and sustained concentration, the ability to play continuously in a relaxed, easy and joyful manner. I am very pleased to note that the Alter Ego ensemble has accomplished all these.