This sounds amazing — From This American Life:
Ira here. Philip Glass, the iconic composer of operas and film scores who—there’s no non-weird way to say this—is also my cousin, is doing a live performance at the Apple Store in Soho this Thursday, January 21st. Apple is filming it and is going to offer the video on iTunes at some point, maybe that same day for all I know.
I’ve been asked to perform a piece that Allen Ginsberg used to perform with Philip, Ginsberg’s great Vietnam-era poem “Wichita Vortex Sutra.” Philip set it to music years ago, and there are a few great recordings of them performing it together, which you are just a google search away from, or try this YouTube clip, and at this point by the way are we still supposed to capitalize Google when we use it as a verb or adjective?
I’ve performed this with Philip once before. He plays that piano a lot louder than you might think. It’s like reading a poem inside a helicopter. It’s also really fun. Ginsberg used to perform the thing with a beat poet grandeur I’d be embarrassed to attempt. When he calls down the gods in the second half of the poem, he really calls down the gods. Needless to say, it’s kind of the opposite of talking on the radio, where the whole point is to sound off-hand and conversational.
I’m the smallest part of this event. Philip will be playing solo, and with cellist (also his GF) Wendy Sutter which is always fantastic and really emotional, and with his chamber group.
If you’ve ever listened to an episode of This American Life, then you’ve probably heard Wichita Vortex Sutra before, because they use it as part of their interstitial music all the time. It’s the one that isn’t by Why? and isn’t from the Amelie soundtrack. It’s also one of my favourite songs in the world — actually, all of Philip Glass’ Solo Piano pieces are terrific — and I’m completely psyched to check this performance out.