Philip Glass: Naqoyqatsi: Religion

Best, most thrilling track from the 2002 score by Philip Glass of Godfrey Reggio’s film Naqoyqatsi, with cello by Yo-Yo Ma. Keep listening. It really kicks in around 5:00 — the contrast between those rising arpeggios, rhythmically erratic — one two three, one two three, one two three four one two three four — and then repeating, in contrast to the casual thump thump of the brass.

Something ineffable yet uplifting. For all that Glass is described as ‘minimalist’ for his repetitive structures, his over-arching themes are as gorgeous and compelling as anything by Puccini, say. His music is the combination of contrasts: the ‘minimalist’ arpeggios (which are really just torn apart chords) in service of relatively basic, traditional, melodic progressions.

Somehow, via Locus Online status, I got an invite to a prescreening of this film back in 2002, at the Hollywood Egyptian Theater, and Yeong and I attended.

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