Glass - Dreaming Awake (2016)

Glass

Bruce Levingston

Ethan Hawke

Pianist Bruce Levingston has had a long and celebrated association with Philip Glass and his music. In 2004, the composer wrote his musical tribute to the artist Chuck Close especially for Levingston who premiered the work at New York City’s Lincoln Center. The following year, Glass joined Levingston in the same venue for a series of piano duos in a concert that also featured Levingston’s longtime friend and Chelsea Hotel neighbor actor Ethan Hawke. At that concert, Levingston and Hawke performed Glass’s Wichita Vortex Sutra that includes a narration of the Allen Ginsberg poem that inspired the work. Glass and Ginsberg had performed and recorded it themselves, but the composer enthusiastically blessed this performance by a new generation of artists. Glass, Hawke and Levingston then together performed the finale of Einstein on the Beach. Glass later invited Levingston to join him in premiering his complete Études at The Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York City in 2014. 
Now this extraordinary group of artists is reunited in this Sono Luminus release of Bruce Levingston’s new album Dreaming Awake. Levingston, an acclaimed concert pianist and recording artist whose last album, Heavy Sleep (DSL-92183), was named one the “Best Recordings of the Year” by The New York Times, pays tribute to Philip Glass with an exploration of his music that spans the length of the composer’s career. This release includes the world premiere recording of The Illusionist Suite, ten of the composer’s dramatic and deeply moving Études, as well as the richly colored tone poems Dreaming Awake, Metamorphosis No. 2, and Wichita Vortex Sutra featuring Ethan Hawke as guest artist performing the Allen Ginsberg poem with Bruce Levingston. 

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Bruce Levingston

Bruce Levingston is a concert pianist and one of the country’s leading figures in contemporary classical music. He is known for his “extraordinary gifts as a colorist and a performer who can hold attention rapt with the softest playing” (MusicWeb International). Many of the world’s most important composers have written works for him, and his Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center world premiere performances have won notable critical acclaim. The New York Times has praised his “mastery of color and nuance" and called him one of “today’s most adventurous musicians”. The New Yorker has called him “a force for new music” and “a poetic pianist with a gift for inventive — and glamorous — programming.” Levingston has appeared in concerts and music festivals throughout the world. His performances have been broadcast internationally on radio, internet and television. Noted for his creative programming, he has worked with some of the most gifted artists of our time, including painter Chuck Close, composer Philip Glass, authors George Plimpton and Michael Cunningham, actor Ethan Hawke, dancers Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo, Colin and Eric Jacobsen and the Brooklyn Rider, and choreographers Jorma Elo, Russell Maliphant and Alexei Ratmansky. Levingston is the founder and artistic director of the music foundation, Premiere Commission, Inc., which has commissioned and premiered over 50 new works. Levingston has collaborated with numerous prominent cultural institutions on programs related to art and music including Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of Art; Alliance Française/French Institute; The Aspen Institute and Aspen Music Festival; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. In 2015, Levingston’s new biography about the painter Marie Hull, Bright Fields: The Mastery of Marie Hull, was published on the 125th Anniversary of the famed Mississippi artist’s birth. Levingston also curated two major exhibitions of Hull’s work at the Mississippi Museum of Art and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans in conjunction with the publication of the book. Long interested in human rights and education, Levingston gave a special premiere performance for the opening of Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and collaborated on the commission and world premiere of the oratorio, Repast, which was based on the life of the civil rights figure Booker Wright. Levingston regularly performs and conducts master classes in public schools to promote the arts and bring live music to young audiences. He was awarded the Mississippi Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. Levingston is the Chancellor’s Honors College Artist in Residence and Holder of the L. G. Fant Chair at the University of Mississippi. He resides in Oxford, MS and New York City.

photo: from booklet Glass - Dreaming Awake

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Glass - Dreaming Awake (2016)

Glass

Bruce Levingston

    WQXR New York Public Radio

"Bruce Levingston, no stranger to the music of Philip Glass, has finally issued an in-depth, two-album survey of Glass's piano music, and the result is a surprisingly passionate and spontaneous portrait of the composer. Dreaming Awake (Sono Luminus) is a boldly individual approach to the keyboard works of an American master. Interpreting the piano music of Glass offers a unique dilemma to the pianist. The construction of the music is often severe and mathematical, the materials lucid to the point of total transparency in order to better showcase the clockwork operation of the rhythms. Instead of plunging forward through a series of contrasting episodes, the music coolly repeats its cadences as if displaying itself in a mirror, allowing the listener to examine the same material from multiple angles. But at the same time, the harmonic language of the music is undeniably steeped in affect. While the music's transparency and poise pull back towards restraint, the substance of those cadences push forward into warm-hearted sentiment. Should the pianist treat the score like a strict MIDI grid, metronomically obeying every rhythm in order to heighten the transparency of the music? Or should the performer take a cue from those ecstatic harmonies? From the almost impulsive opening of this record, those first few notes of Glass's magnificently subtle Etude No. 2, it becomes clear that Levingston has given himself over to feeling. This is Glass the Romantic. In addition to a generous helping of the Etudes, arguably the composer's most substantial solo works, Levingston also offers the rarer title track, his own arrangement of Glass's tuneful film music for The Illusionist, and the earlier Allen Ginsberg hymn Wichita Vortex Sutra. Even Levingston's stellar choice of collaborator fits the bill. Instead of sampling Ginsberg's own delightfully idiosyncratic reading of "Wichita," Levingston recruits thespian Ethan Hawke, Hollywood's Gen-X embodiment of Romanticism, and Hawke's breathless delivery is absolutely of a piece with the almost cinematic heroics of Levingston's vision for these path breaking works."

Daniel Stephen Johnson from WQXR[read full review]

Glass - Dreaming Awake (2016)

Glass

Bruce Levingston

Digital Converters:Horus
Editing Software:Pyramix
Mastering Engineer:Daniel Shores
Mastering Room:Legacy Audio
Producer:Dan Merceruio
Recording Engineer:Daniel Shores
Recording location:Sono Luminus Studios
Recording Software:Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate:DXD

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DSL92205: Glass - Dreaming Awake
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Tracks
1.
Etudes, Book 1 - No. 2
Glass
00:09:05   Select quality & channels above
2.
Etudes, Book 2 - No. 11
Glass
00:07:45   Select quality & channels above
3.
The Illusionist Suite (Arr. B. Levingston for Piano) - I. The Illusionist
Glass
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4.
The Illusionist Suite (Arr. B. Levingston for Piano) - II. The Orange Tree
Glass
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5.
The Illusionist Suite (Arr. B. Levingston for Piano) - III. The Locket
Glass
00:03:08   Select quality & channels above
6.
The Illusionist Suite (Arr. B. Levingston for Piano) - IV. Life in the Mountains
Glass
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7.
Etudes, Book 2 - No. 16
Glass
00:04:06   Select quality & channels above
8.
Etudes, Book 2 - No. 17
Glass
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9.
Wichita Vortex Sutra - Wichita Vortex Sutra
Glass
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10.
Dreaming Awake - Dreaming Awake
Glass
00:07:28   Select quality & channels above
11.
Etudes, Book 1 - No. 1
Glass
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12.
Etudes, Book 1 - No. 5
Glass
00:09:41   Select quality & channels above
13.
Etudes, Book 1 - No. 6
Glass
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14.
Etudes, Book 2 - No. 12
Glass
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15.
Etudes, Book 1 - Etude No. 9
Glass
00:03:09   Select quality & channels above
16.
Etudes, Book 1 - Etude No. 10
Glass
00:06:15   Select quality & channels above
17.
Metamorphosis II - Metamorphosis II
Glass
00:10:21   Select quality & channels above

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