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January 25, 2007


Jon Abbey

unless those free DLs or the iTunes ones are lossless (doubtful), they're a sad substitute for CDs for this kind of music (not sure how tongue in cheek you were there, but this is something that's always worth noting and doesn't get mentioned nearly enough).

Frank J. Oteri

even within this seemingly systematic music, there's plenty of room for flexibility and spontaneity

While the processes are all completely notated and the tempos—though not always chiseled in stone as they are in, say, the music of Elliott Carter—are clearly indicated as well, the number of repeats in early Philip Glass pieces are never specified, and therefore they vary from performance to performance. I think that this is ultimately a practical issue. In practice, only a machine would flawlessly remember to repeat phrase 1 for 23 times, phrase 2 for 27, etc., but is also the most probable reason for the time discrepencies between the various recordings out there.

(P.S. As far as the CD vs. download debate goes, for the record, I still swear by the earliest recording of Music in 12 Parts on Virgin which I bought on CD many years ago after kicking myself for not buying it on a 6 LP set I saw in Milan back in 1990. Only Parts 1 and 2 were ever issued on vinyl in the USA, as far as I know.)

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