philip glass heroes symphony
I don’t think it’s possible to overstate the seismic shock experienced by millions of us at the news of David Bowie’s death. Literally the last thing anyone imagined, I mean, Bowie was forever, right? Speaking personally he was a cornerstone of my life, a fundamental, as important as Mozart, and for me, that is saying a lot.
In wondering how to come to terms with it – and as a musician, what music I might play which reflected both my agonised numbness at his passing, and the sheer lust-for-life-ish joy his music has always given me – I realised with a leaping heart that we must play Philip Glass’s Heroes Symphony! Here is a wonderfully intense symphonic journey, which takes the musical essence of Bowie’s Heroes, and re-expresses it through Glass’s unmistakeable and hypnotic brand of alchemy: a 45 minute symphonic meditation setting the ghosts of Bowie’s (and Eno’s) creation in poetic, shining relief, through the filter of another, equally iconoclastic and unique genius.
I mailed Philip about the idea. His response was unequivocal, “wowee gazoweeee” as I recall.
Bowie was a huge fan of Glass, citing him as a primary influence. If Bowie had any interest in what might be played by all of us after he’d gone, then I reckon a world class orchestra breathing fire into Glass’s Heroes Symphony would make him very happy indeed. I conducted Army of Generals and members of the British Paraorchestra, and, with the added genius of laser virtuoso Chris Levine creating a visual counterpoint to Glass’s luminescent textures, this was the most extraordinary sound and vision ever witnessed at Glastonbury.