I have spent the last ~30 years with a Philip Glass playlist that shuffles nearly every track from all the Glass CDs I own (now over 150 titles, but I digress). So I’ll hear a piece from Satyagraha, followed by something like How Now, then an etude, then on to a track from Koyanisqaatsi, etc.
Perhaps because of this manner of listening to Glass for more than half of my life: except for the obvious pieces, I can only rarely name which piece I am listening to. It is as familiar to me as my arm, of course, but I usually cannot name it without having to do a little research.
Everyone who knows me knows that I am a Glass Head (all of us who travel to see Glass performances can bear this title, a carryover from the days of the Grateful Dead and their devoted fans, but I again digress).
So, as a Glass Head, this near inability to name the Glass pieces I hear is pretty embarrassing. It goes something like this:
Me: “I am great at math.”
Other human: “What is 4 times 17?”
Me: “Ummm… I of course recognize this, but I don’t know.”
So embarrassing! And I call myself a Glass Head?! What shame!
In 2015, doubtless merely one stop of a longer tour, Phil was interviewed on stage in Portland, Oregon, to promote his new memoir, Words Without Music. Philip Glass is in town? Of course I was there, and I was there early.
During the 30 minutes or so before the interview, as people were trickling in to the auditorium, the facility played Glass music. And each time a new piece started, the late-twenty-something person seated next to me quietly said the name of the piece. Especially due to my embarrassing confession above, I was so impressed!
I regret not exchanging names with this person. I wish I could let them know that I think of them every time I hear a Glass piece and have to look it up to see what it is called.
Which means I think of them often. Sigh.