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GLASS, Phillip (b. 1937). Autograph music manuscript signed ("Philip Glass“), "Music in Eight Parts,” n.p., January, 1970.
GLASS, Phillip (b. 1937). Autograph music manuscript signed ("Philip Glass“), "Music in Eight Parts,” n.p., January, 1970.
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GLASS, Phillip (b. 1937). Autograph music manuscript signed ("Philip Glass“), "Music in Eight Parts,” n.p., January, 1970.

Details
GLASS, Phillip (b. 1937). Autograph music manuscript signed ("Philip Glass“), "Music in Eight Parts,” n.p., January, 1970.

Three pages, bifolium, on Maestro Opaque stave paper (383 x 279 mm), additionally titled and signed in pencil by Glass on the front leaf in his hand, and signed a third time adding copyright (some light soiling at margins).

Manuscript of the final work of Glass’s ‘early minimal’ period, long thought to no longer survive. The work premiered at the Guggenheim in January 1970 to lackluster reviews and is now rarely heard. Part of Glass’s lighthearted approach to tracing the progress of musical history, he describes it as sounding like an accordion: “it keeps opening and closing.” The eight parts of the title refer not to movements but to eight contrapuntal parts, which begin in unison and develop into polyphony.

Philip Glass, perhaps the most influential American composer of the late 20th century, is often associated with the minimalist movement; he describes himself, however, as a composer of "music with repetitive structures.” Music in Eight Parts represents a turning point in Glass’s experiments with musical texture. Although this piece explores one stream of possibility in the additive/subtractive technique of musical composition, Glass moved in another direction with his later works. Glass writes of this piece “I think it was a fumbling attempt at something I did much better when I got to Music in Twelve Parts.”

Glass regards this work as an abandoned piece, and no manuscript was known to exist until music historian Keith Potter unearthed one in 2000. Its transitional nature, although somewhat responsible for its status as a ‘problem piece,’ makes this manuscript an important artifact of music history and a rich avenue for the study of musical minimalism.

Provenance
Acquired from Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, in September, 1981.
Sale Room Notice
Please note there is new provenance for this lot: Acquired from Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, in September, 1981.

Lot Essay

The ground-breaking collaboration between Robert Wilson and Philip Glass, Einstein on the Beach, described by John Rockwell as "a landmark in 20th century music theater" was a turning point in Glass's career as an artist. At the end of the first tour, the production was running at a loss and both Wilson and Glass were forced to take divergent paths to recoup. Glass was reported to have sold off some of his scores to alleviate debt generated by the production. The present manuscript may have been purchased by Paul Walter, alongside the original score for Einstein (donated by Walter to The Morgan Library & Museum) at this time.

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