The Etudes

The concept and simple, minimalist staging of Philip Glass’s Piano Etudes last night made for one of the most elegant and exciting evenings of music I have ever experienced. The row of ten piano benches along the back of the stage — each of them spotlighted and brought forward for each individual pianist, then replaced back in its spotlighted space — was brilliant staging, giving visible weight to the talent of the performers and the importance of the music. It was thrilling to have the opportunity to hear not only all of the etudes — both Book 1 and Book 2 in one evening — but to have the chance to hear them played by Philip Glass and nine other incredible pianists, each of them playing two of the etudes. I wish I could come back for the next evening and hear the same musicians play a different pairing of the etudes. I spent most of the evening with my eyes closed, letting the music wash over me and feeling like one of the luckiest people alive.

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