Art has a multitude of disciplines. When music meets the stage there is always a grand sensation that we cannot ignore. The performance carries the idea. Philip Glass's Einstein on the beach is a piece of music that is both challenging and engaging and even a little repetitive.
You have to be eased into his work. The music is sometimes too much. Your ears have an overload and it bamboozles the mind. I'd recommend starting with Metamorphis.
Once you get your head around the one two, one two nature of the music you will then understand that it has a structure that follows the beat of human existence. It takes on mistakes and follows order. It is the cognitive brain in motion. It is a visualization of how we feel throughout the day and the thoughts we contemplate.
Once you have eased into the solo piano it is time for some harder material. Glassworks is probably the way to go.
As the piano quickens and keys are put into the sockets at more complex rates you begin to learn the music. With this new skill acquired you can begin to understand what it is all about.
But then there is Einstein on the Beach.
It is combinations of challenging, beautiful and horrendous all placed into one sensation. It takes you on loops around and around and around and around until you feel as if you have lost connection with the world you exist in. It is a forced escapism. An escape into Einstein's mind.
What we hear is a representation of information and thoughts. With the unrealistic nature of various people representing different parts of the brain the play itself, first performed in 1976, is an experience you are never quite ready for. It takes you from point A to point Z and you end up having no idea what happened in between. So astounding is this piece of music I have been racking my brain to see if there is anything that is quite similar to its uniqueness. I'm not sure if there is.
He discusses the complicated sensation of living through the vehicle of Einstein. As a pivotal figure within the scientific field his mystery had always raised other questions aside from his theories.
What kind of man was he?
What seems like complete fiction you are taken on an uncomfortable tour of the man's life but it is immersive in the experience. It is not reality but merely fiction.
You do not buy a ticket and ride a train, instead you are thrown into sounds and figures, numbers, figures, numbers, figures and numbers. This repetition leaves us lost. As lyrics come to pass and melody prevails the music touches every sense we have in our body. It allows for contemplation but there is no clear subject to consider.
It is only once you have gotten past the mass hurdle of Einstein's thoughts you come to a point where we are left in a park with two lovers. Discussing simple questions of love, as lovers do, they epitomize the reason for living. They depict our deepest wants and needs. It depicts unconditional love,
you know, the kind of love your grandparents have.
It accumulates everything we thought we ever knew about life and gives us something else to think about. It remaps your whole perspective once its been listened to for the first time.
It is clarity revealing a deeper understanding of the way we live our lives.
- Below is the script of the last 5 minutes of the album
"The day with its cares and perplexities is ended and the night is now upon us. The night should be a time of peace and tranquility, a time to relax and be calm. We have need of a soothing story to banish the disturbing thoughts of the day, to set at rest our troubled minds, and put at ease our ruffled spirits.
And what sort of story shall we hear? Ah, it will be a familiar story, a story that is so very, very old, and yet it is so new. It is the old, old story of love.
Two lovers sat on a park bench, with their bodies touching each other, holding hands in the moonlight
There was silence between them. So profound was their love for each other, they needed no words to express it. And so they sat in silence, on a park bench, with their bodies touching, holding hands in the moonlight.
Finally she spoke. "Do you love me, John?" she asked. "You know I love you, darling," he replied. "I love you more than tongue can tell. You are the light of my life, my sun, moon and stars. You are my everything. Without you I have no reason for being."
Again there was silence as the two lovers sat on a park bench, their bodies touching, holding hands in the moonlight. Once more she spoke. "How much do you love me, John?" she asked. He answered:
"How much do I love you? Count the stars in the sky. Measure the waters of the oceans with a teaspoon. Number the grains of sand on the sea shore. Impossible, you say. Yes and it is just as impossible for me to say how much I love you.
"My love for you is higher than the heavens, deeper than Hades, and broader than the earth. It has no limits, no bounds. Everything must have an ending except my love for you."
There was more of silence as the two lovers sat on a park bench with their bodies touching, holding hands in the moonlight.
Once more her voice was heard. "Kiss me, John," she implored. And leaning over, he pressed his lips warmly to
hers in fervent osculation... •"
(Text written by Mr. Samuel M. Johnson)
You can find the full album here.