All in Class: American Masters
The Met’s study guide for Satyagraha asked the reader to consider Glass’s decision to set the original Sanskrit, rather than an English translation. I think it is a sound decision, despite the fact that it would appear to be motivated by essentially the same factors which prompted Stravinsky to set Oedipus Rex in Latin. Latin, not Greek!
For the first time in my life I listened today, with undivided attention, to Philip Glass’s Satyagraha, in an admirable performance from the Met. I carefully read the quite helpful study materials available from the Met’s website. My point of view is likely to be less valuable than that of a Glass aficionado, since love is a prerequisite for understanding. Furthermore, my comments may either seem like a betrayal to those who agree with my customary aesthetic agendae, or insufficiently laudatory to those who already esteem this work. This post is likely to please no one, more’s the pity.
Am I permitted to say that my comment on listeners “being free to luxuriate in the beautiful melodies” of the Barber concerto is an observation, not a condemnation?
One of the comments in these pages expressed incredulity that I could even consisder the possibility of Barber’s popularity waning. Well, I can conceive this possibility because of what happened to me from my conservatory days to the present, which is the central musical irony of my life.