‘Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts’ (2007)

(Director: Scott Hicks • 2007 • USA)

The beautifully crafted ‘Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts’ offers a fascinating insight into the career, personal and spiritual life of one of the 20th century’s greatest living composers, Philip Glass. Mainly taking a talking heads approach (interspersed with some excellent archival footage); the film follows Glass through his daily life, from writing operas and orchestral symphonies to scoring for documentaries and features. Some time is also spent documenting his family life, including a separation from his wife.

Apart from his obvious gift for composition, he comes across as an extremely calm, intelligent, modest and insightful person, with a demeanour that easily belies his seventy years. Demonstrating a keen interest in a variety of spiritual practices, he also discusses his Buddhist and Toltec shamanism leanings (although remains admirably close-lipped on the specifics of the latter).

Essential viewing indeed.

Recommended Glass Releases:
“ANIMA MUNDI” – soundtrack for a gorgeous WWF nature film
“THE ESSENTIAL PHILIP GLASS” – a decent introduction to the mans work
“KOYAANISATSI” – soundtrack for the seminal film / documentary
“MUSIC IN TWELVE PARTS” – long, repetitive meditations
“SOLO PIANO” – self-explanatory! Gorgeous & lush