About the Album Release
On the 20th anniversary of the premiere of Philip Glass’s magnum symphonic opus Symphony No. 5: Requiem, Bardo, Nirmanakaya, a new recording featuring Trinity ensembles is being released by Orange Mountain Music. Trinity Church Wall Street amassed the monumental forces required to perform the piece: NOVUS NY, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, Downtown Voices, Trinity Youth Chorus, and soloists Heather Buck, Katherine Pracht, Vale Rideout, Stephen Salters, and David Cushing, conducted by Julian Wachner. The new album, which includes a concert video of the work and an interview between Philip Glass and Julian Wachner, will be released exactly 20 years to the day of the original premiere in Salzburg, Austria on August 28, 2019.
This new release includes the complete 100-minute Symphony No. 5 on two CDs, and a DVD with a live concert of the symphony performed at Trinity Church, and an interview between Philip Glass and Julian Wachner.
“It was my intention [with Symphony No. 5] to provoke a flow of attention for the listener which would be based on the world's Wisdom Traditions—their commonalities, differences, and eccentricities.
“Now two decades after its premiere, this new recording by Trinity Wall Street and all the collected forces of orchestra, choirs, and singers under Julian Wachner, make these commonalities, differences, and eccentricities appear even more pronounced than was initially imagined.” —Philip Glass, 2019
About the Recording
This new album marks the first “organic” recording of Glass’s symphony; this is the first time the piece was recorded with all the participants in one space—Trinity Church (the previous recording was captured sectionally in studios around the world). The forces came together for two live performances produced by Soundmirror and producer Blanton Alspaugh.
About Symphony No. 5
Written to mark the turn of the millennium, Symphony No. 5 manifests Gustav Mahler’s opinion that “The symphony must be like the world. It must embrace everything.” Glass draws from diverse spiritual wellsprings—including the Bible, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the Koran, Hindu scriptures, and West African traditions—to create an epic narrative.
At the time of the Symphony No.5 premiere at the Salzburg Festival, Glass had this to say about the piece:
“The symphony was commissioned and conceived as a millennium celebration work for the Salzburg Festival. My plan has been for the symphony to represent a broad spectrum of many of the world’s great 'wisdom' traditions. Working together with the Very Reverend James Parks Morton of the Interfaith Center of New York and Professor Kusumita P. Pedersen of St. Francis College, we synthesized a vocal text that begins before the world’s creation, passes through earthly life and paradise, and closes with a future dedication.
“We are looking at the moment of the millennium as a bridge between the past (represented by the 'Requiem' and embodying the first nine movements up to the moment of Death) the present (the 'Bardo' representing the 'in between') and culminating in 'Nirmanakaya' (the future manifestation of enlightened activity).
“We have elected to present the original texts (Greek, Hebrew, Sanskrit, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and indigenous languages) in one language, English, to show the commonalities with which all these traditions resonate. For a work of this scale it seemed fitting to add chorus, children’s choir and soloists to the usual symphonic ensemble, thereby giving it ample breadth and dramatic capability.
“Besides being a compendium of reflection on the process of global transformation and evolution, it is hoped that the work will serve as a strong and positive celebration of the millennium year.”