Glass: A Portrait Of Philip In Twelve Parts Review, by Joshua Kosman of San Francisco Chronicle

Just the title of this breezy, adulatory documentary about composer Philip Glass is packed with information. The casual dropping of the subject's first name advertises the chummy approach taken by director Scott Hicks ("Shine"), who finds himself included at Glass' family gatherings. The division into 12 parts refers to one of Glass' early scores, as well as to François Girard's imaginative "Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould" (1993). Hicks' multiple structure is comparatively mundane - he devotes chapters to Glass' family background, to his musical training with Nadia Boulanger and Ravi Shankar, to his spiritual interests, to his film scores and to the premieres of his Eighth Symphony and the opera "Waiting for the Barbarians." With his self-deprecating demeanor and easy laugh, Glass is a congenial presence, and now and then he lets an insight drop. To watch him discuss his techniques while whipping up homemade pizza at his Nova Scotia farmhouse is to understand that he approaches composition like an old-fashioned craftsman. Later, Glass defangs his critics by laughingly describing his achievement as "the ability to write music so radical that I could be mistaken for an idiot."


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GLASS: A PORTRAIT OF PHILIP IN TWELVE PARTS

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