The pressure to sanctify a monumental occasion rarely brings out the best in a composer, at least in recent centuries. Bach and Handel dealt with it well, but we moderns seem to approach the attempt with guilty consciences. It may be due to the lack of some such faculty that Philip Glass wrote the most sincere millennium homage I've heard, which is not in itself high praise. His noble intentions can hardly be questioned. He's always been up-front about his Buddhism, and for this grand Symphony No. 5 for choruses, soloists, and orchestra he set texts from the world's major... More >>>
By photo: Barron Claiborne
Symphony No. 5 is nearly perfect, yet passionless and impersonal.