Glass has said he began writing the Etudes as a way to practice and build up a repertoire for his solo performances, but as time went on, he began to consider them his autobiography.
As he opened the concert, Glass played matter-of-factly with no hint of his pianistic fireworks that would come when he played later. Namekawa approached her opening set differently, playing with such force and at times a jazz rhythm that I wondered whether Glass had imagined his etudes sounding like this. One of a generation of cosmopolitan musicians, Namekawa, who was born in Japan but now lives in Europe, was featured at. the recent Perth Australia Festival where she premiered Glass' most recent etudes.
His sensibility, especially in the first set he played, reflected his European training and intuition.
Then and later, the audience showed their appreciation.
In Glass' middle set, he displayed almost nuclear energy, and of course received tremendous applause. By that time a few in the audience had left, perhaps bored by the composer's characteristic (some would say obsessive) use of certain techniques.
The last etude could almost have been movie music from the mid-twentieth century (in fact, Glass is well-known for his movie scores) but the 18th and 19th etudes are the ones that moved me. He was indeed revealing new layers of his autobiography, looking back from his seventies in a way that reflected how many of feel and think as we do the same.
--=I have read that until now Glass's Etude 6 is the most popular, but perhaps in time it will be equaled or surpassed by these two etudes. Glass said at his press conference, a composer welcomes being popular (Mozart was in his time), but that it is hard to predict what will be popular in fifty years. As someone of Glass's generation, I hope that there will still be listeners responding to the layers, the chiaroscuro in these recent etudes