Book review: Philip Glass, 'Words Without Music'
April 12, 2015
Scanning the many reviews of Philip Glass's new memoir since I filed my own report last week, I think it's safe to say that we're mostly all on the same page, so to speak: charmed by Glass's early history, less than overwhelmed by his travel narrative, charged up by his recollections of downtown New York's artistic scene of the 1970s, and disappointed that his account for all intents and purposes ends after the triumph of Einstein on the Beach arriving at the Metropolitan Opera, after which point the memoir turns into a catalog of selected highlights and, arguably, a vast stretch of omission.
I'm confident, though, that I'm the only reviewer who opened by quoting his own college-paper interview with Glass, published in a 1987 issue of The Trinitonian – and that, however self-serving, gave me some small joy. Glass was one of my earliest genuine "celebrity" interviews, and he could not have been more patient and generous with what could only have been a slightly breathless fanboy at the other end of the line.
To those who saw this review in print initially, rather than online: I hereby apologize for my lamentable lack of mathematical acuity. The 2007 interview for this article in The New York Times happened almost exactly 20 years after the college article, not 30. I blame the cold medicine.
Among the numerous other reviews of the Glass book that I've read, I commend in particular those by my friends and colleagues Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim (The New York Times) and George Grella (The Brooklyn Rail).