Knock knock. Who's there? Knock knock. Who's there? Knock knock
June 19, 2014 9:31 PM   Subscribe

In 2004, pianist Branka Parlić performed a series of pieces by Philip Glass at the synagogue at Novi Sad. Metamorphosis One. Metamorphosis Two. Metamorphosis Three. Metamorphosis Four. Metamorphosis Five.

If you recognize the song, you may have heard it during a visit to Caprica.
posted by the man of twists and turns (15 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks for this. Philip glass is one of my favorite artists. I also really like Martin Tillman, if anyone wants something similar!
posted by bbqturtle at 9:57 PM on June 19, 2014

That title is brilliant. What if Philip Glass told a knock knock joke?

Knock knock. Who's there? Knock knock. Who's there? Knock knock. Who's there? Knock knock. Who's there? Knock knock. Who's there? Knock knock. Who's there? Knock knock. Who's there? Knock knock. Who's there? Knock knock.

Banana. Banana who? Banana. Banana who? Banana. Banana who? Banana. Banana who? Banana. Banana who?


Banana who? Banana. Banana who? Banana. Banana who? Banana. Banana who? Banana. Banana who?

Orange. Orange you glad I didn't say "Banana"?
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:18 PM on June 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

Whenever I hear these I think of The Thin Blue Line.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:36 PM on June 19, 2014

I think I first read about Philip Glass in High Times. They had a music review about his 1977 album "North Star" which said something like "this is really trippy music." And they were right. Load up your bong and listen to River Run over and over for four hours. You'll see what I mean.

I'm probably one of the few people to have listened to Einstein on the Beach - the whole thing - more than once while tripping on LSD.

Somewhere along the way, Philip Glass became acceptable. Music people thought he was modern classical. And he got gigs doing film scores. And he could do concerts that lots of people would attend, even if they weren't tripping.

But to me, Philip Glass will always be worth listening to with a loaded bong.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:19 PM on June 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

@twoleftfeet, I saw him do Koyaanisqatsi in Berkeley in 90(ish) with the movie playing above and behind the orchestra. Me and a friend were both tripping really hard. It was at first shocking but then I kind of detached from the scarier aspects of the visuals and really got into it. I'd seen the movie in theaters before but the live performance and the sheer volume was a whole new dimension. One of my favorite concerts ever.
posted by doctor_negative at 12:12 AM on June 20, 2014

Oddly enough, my first time tripping on LSD had 2 hours of philip glass included. That being said, the real star of the trip was Steve Reich's Music for 18 musicians. I never knew how much music could fit!
posted by Philipschall at 12:31 AM on June 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Right well... early Philip Glass is trippy. You can do the musicologist thing and talk about minimalism, but if you listen to, say, Steve Reich's It's Gonna Rain you can talk about minimalism in music as though it were an artistic direction, like minimalism in painting, but it's a hard thing to listen to if you're tripping. Music for 18 Musicians is trippy though.

I'm in favor of visceral interpretations of art. If you don't hate it, or love it, or have an orgasm, or puke, or start hallucinating... it's not art. I think early Philip Glass worked that way, but not so much the later stuff.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:40 AM on June 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

I love Philip Glass' music, having gotten into it through Clint Mansell (requiem for a dream, moon, the fountain) -> Kronos Quartet -> PG, and Metamorphosis is one of my favourite pieces for when I want to sit and mentally detox.

Having it played in a synagogue in Serbia, which (according to the article) was built in a time of optimism about their place in civil society and amidst reforms towards the kind of judaism I* can get behind ... which fell apart after the shoah and the flight from Europe, only to be converted to a music hall / high holidays synagogue?

Metamorphosis is right.

for clarity, I am jewish.
posted by Lemurrhea at 3:13 AM on June 20, 2014

I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma, and all I knew was that there was a great big world out there, and I wanted to experience it. But when I went to college as a theater undergrad, I was definitely a country bumpkin. My town did old musicals and garbage like Steel Magnolias. Meanwhile I had classes that covered then ancient Greeks as directed by Tyrone Guthrie, Shakespeare from the RSC, and Glass operas.

So there's an old episode of Great Performances about Einstein on the Beach, the opera created by Glass and Robert Wilson. When I was a theater undergrad, it was shown to a bunch of us in a class.

In it, Wilson tells a story about a conversation he has with his autistic son (who ended up writing most of the lyrics for the opera.) He says,

I asked my son 'Mark, who is Einstein?' and he said 'I don't know.' and I said 'Mark, who is Einstein?' and he said 'I don't know' and I said 'Mark who is Einstein?' and he said 'I don't know'...

And Wilson repeats this question and answer about 30 times. He varies the tone and the rhythm of the question and answer, but the words are exactly the same throughout. And my class starts doing that thing they do when face someone doing a very long weird story: they assumed at first it's a bit of a joke, chuckling. And then as it went on, it was less funny, and then it became funny again as he went on and on and ON.

And then he finished the story: nd I said 'Mark, who is Einstein?' and he said 'I don't know' and I said 'Mark who is Einstein?' and he said 'let me think about it.'

The video cut to the next bit and everybody kind of rolled their eyes and shook their heads like "what a weirdo." But something happened to me. The scales fell from my eyes. I understood something about Glass, and minimalism. I literally jumped up in the class and shouted "oh my god he just explained why Glass does what he does." And the class looked at me like I was high.

But meanwhile the professor stopped the tape and asked me to explain what I meant, and I did: about how these repetitions were ways of lulling you into thinking in ways that you hadn't before. It was the repetitiveness, that hearing the same thing over and over and over again, until you can stop hearing the music the way you normally do and think about it in a different way. That life could be like that, where you do things over and over - eating, driving to work, shopping, whatever - and then one day you can be in the middle of something that you've done so many times and have an epiphany.

And my professor smiled at me, and said something to the effect of 'bang on,' and put the tape back on.

And I knew then I wasn't going to be a country bumpkin for too long.
posted by nushustu at 4:54 AM on June 20, 2014 [22 favorites]

nushutsu--and what grade did you receive and where did you go to school--"bang on". I hear that very seldom in the States
posted by rmhsinc at 5:23 AM on June 20, 2014

glass is my second favorite musician for this type of music. I don't understand why it's so hard to find, when it's obviously The Best Music

Anyway, the ranking goes:

Eric Satie
Philip Glass
Martin Tillman (sadly hard to find this album streaming - also, his other albums are much more "New Agey"
Zoe Keating (you might recognize this from Elementary (but i liked her before she was cool!))
Recent addition: Alexandra Streliski, whose album is juuuuuust outside the realm of acceptable. Not quite melodic enough, not quite repetitive enough, not quite minimal enough. But close!
posted by rebent at 6:31 AM on June 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

Yay, favorite composer!

As many others, Koyaanisqatsi was my introduction to his music, and it remains a strong piece. I love Einstein on the Beach, easily my favorite opera. While he remains productive, I generally find his earlier works more interesting—Music in Twelve Parts does more for me than any of the symphonies.

If I were to pick only one Glass album to bring to the mythical desert island, it would probably be Songs from Liquid Days.
posted by bouvin at 7:35 AM on June 20, 2014

Glass recorded this himself in 1989 as a commercial CD. It's one of my favorite pieces for listening, mostly because it's so calm. I appreciate Glass' maximalist stuff but when I try to listen to, say, Music in Twelve Parts it always ends with a chopstick through my eardrum.

Glassworks is another album-length Glass in this calm vein. It was a deliberate effort to write a crossover commercial album, Glass said "Glassworks was intended to introduce my music to a more general audience than had been familiar with it up to then." It works pretty well IMHO.

If you missed the excellent La Monte Young post a few months ago it's worth a revisit. Here it is On Napster YouTube.
posted by Nelson at 8:37 AM on June 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

I love this music, hat tip to the Caprica reference. I purchased Glass' Solo Piano album after watching that episode.

Surprisingly, I find Parlic's performance too strident for the piece. Glass' performance on the album, while not live, feels much softer.
posted by bullitt 5 at 8:39 AM on June 20, 2014

I'd seen the movie in theaters before but the live performance and the sheer volume was a whole new dimension.

Yes, another thing that stood out at first (in the Classical Music universe) was that when they performed live his ensemble was amplified and fairly loud.
posted by ovvl at 1:26 PM on June 20, 2014

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