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CD Review: The Concerto Project, Volume I (music by Philip Glass)

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Our Classical Pick of the Week is tonight with the Pasadena Symphony and special guest and timpani rockstar, Jonathan Haas, playing American composer Philip Glass' "Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and Orchestra." With that in mind, we decided to check out the album that features Haas with percussionist Evelyn Glennie.

Also on the album, but not in tonight's concert is the "Concerto for Cello and Orchestra," an adventurously beautiful piece with some of Glass' trademark sounds and riffs, but surprisingly feels quite influenced from the Romantic period. Cellist, Julian Lloyd Webber, plays precisely with full sound in what is becoming one of my personal favorite Glass pieces.

Yet, as a percussionist, I have to be swayed by the loud ruckus din and music produced by Glennie and Haas in "Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and Orchestra" that will be played tonight in Pasadena. If you have kids who like drums, or you yourself a fan, do check out the timpani inspired concert or CD. The piece jarringly shocks you out your senses the moment it begins with a Mission Impossible-esque rhythm that interludes into tribal drum overtones, with marching drum sensations as the orchestra flavors the timpani's rhythmic theme. Beware of the percussive only third movement as extended techniques are executed quite well, but written with no excitement or interest for the listener. Lucky for listeners, there is a grandiose fast-paced explosive fourth movement that will leave the audience on a high-note.

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Artists: Evelyn Glennie/Jonathan Haas/Gerard Schwarz/Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Album: GLASS: The Concerto Project Vol. 1
Label: Orange Mountain Music
Release Date: September 11, 2004