Philips Glass’s Trilogy Sonata consists of transcriptions from his operas “Einstein on the Beach”, “Satyagraha” and “Akhnaten”. The works are arranged by the renowned Glass pianist Paul Barnes and are at the same time beautifully simple, and deceptively difficult. “Knee play”, probably the easiest technically out of the movements, with its alternating triplets/straight rhythms opens the work before leading into the beautiful “Satyagraha”. This second movement is bound to become immensely popular and anyone familiar with the original version will know how beautiful it is. But this piano transcription is simply exquisite, but be warned – it may sound simple but it is finger achingly difficult to pull off. The last movement raises the stakes even further with the “Dance” from scene 3 of Akhnaten, where some serious technique is needed – in many ways reminds me of the difficulty of the Stravinsky piano transcriptions from Petrushka – another piece that’s a hand killer!!
Minimalist music might sound simple but often hides behind some enormous technically and interpretive difficulties. If you are up for a challenge then this is a worthy and beautiful piece.
- (Norwich, United Kingdom)