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Philip Glass

Publisher: Chester Music

Symphony No. 4 'Heroes' (1996)
Work Notes
From the music of David Bowie and Brian Eno
Publisher
Dunvagen Music Publishers Inc
Category
Orchestra
Sub Category
Large Orchestra
Year Composed
1996
Duration
44 Minutes
Programme Note
Philip Glass Symphony No. 4 'Heroes' (1996)
'Heroes' Symphony, like The 'Low' Symphony of several years before it, is based on the recording of the same name made by David Bowie and Brian Eno in the late 1970s. During that period David and Brian were attempting to extend the normal definition of pop and rock and roll. In a series of innovative recordings in which influences of world music, experimental 'avant-garde' were used, they were re-defining the language of music in ways which can be heard even today.

Almost twenty years later, I went back to their original material, using it as a point of departure and inspiration, much as composers of the past have based their work on their contemporaries. Using themes from Heroes I made a new composition which I hoped would reintroduce this music to new listeners.

Twyla Tharp, the American choreographer with whom I had collaborated on the dance work In the Upper Room, suggested I think of Heroes as a ballet score for her new dance company. We suggested this to David, who immediately shared Twyla's enthusiasm for the Idea. Accordingly, I set Heroes as a six movement work, each movement based on a theme from the album, with an overall dramatic structure that would be suitable for dance. The result was a symphonic ballet - a transformation of the original themes combined with new material of my own and presented in a new dramatic form.

Philip Glass

  • Ensemble
    American Composers Orchestra
    Conductor
    Dennis Russell Davies
    Point Music:
  • Ensemble
    Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
    Conductor
    Marin Alsop
  • Ensemble
    Basle Symphony Orchestra
    Conductor
    Dennis Russell Davies
    Orange Mountain Music:
Performances
Date
Title
  • 09 JUN 2019
    Auditorium di Milano, Milan, Italy
    Orchestra Sinfonica Giuseppe Verdi de Milano
    Francesco Bossaglia, conductor

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