Lectures for a New Year: Philip Glass Performs "Mad Rush"


In 1979, Philip Glass wrote a solo piano piece called "Mad Rush" (a piece of "indefinite length") in honor of the 14th Dalai Lama's visit to North America. I find the piece very moving -- there's something simultaneously contemplative and urgent about the music. I listen to it a lot while writing, in its 13-minute version from Glass's album Solo Piano -- the whole album is terrific, and nerds may recognize one piece from its appearance on Battlestar Galactica (apparently Kara Thrace's dad was Philip Glass!).

Today is Philip Glass's 75th birthday, so I thought I'd close out January's lecture series by sharing a brief (three-minute) selection from "Mad Rush," as performed by Glass in Two Moon July. In the end, perhaps the most moving lecture is one without words.

Topics: social change through nonviolence; repetition.

For: everyone.

Further Listening

Check out Solo Piano for a much longer version of the piece. You may also enjoy this performance from 2008 in which Glass introduces and explains the piece, then plays a medium-length version. The audio isn't perfect, but you get the idea. If that's not enough Glass for you, try the Koyaanisqatsi soundtrack, or check out Philip Glass's Music on Sesame Street.


Sheet music is available.

Closing Remarks & Suggest a Lecture

Although this is the end of my first January lecture run, I've got more in the works -- in a few weeks we'll see what Lectures for a New Year turns into. If you missed a lecture in this first series, check out the roundups of week 1, week 2, week 3, and week 4. If you've got a favorite lecture, share it in the comments and I'll have a look. Thank you for watching this month, and stay tuned!