When a group of three is the perfect company

March 3, 2010

Shaun Brady for METRO

March 3, 2010

When the Relache ensemble premiered Philip Glass Persephone back in 1994, the five-movement work for chamber ensemble and chorus had to make do without the chorus. The composer himself made up in star power what the piece thus lacked in scale, playing the vocal parts on keyboard.

Sixteen years later, the piece will finally be heard in its intended form or the first (and quite possibly only) time thanks to a unique partnership between three Philly music ensembles. For the occasion, the Philadelphia Singers enlisted both Relache and Orchestra 2001 to present the piece alongside the Philly premieres of Stephen Reichs You Are (Variations) and two a cappella pieces from Gavin Bryars Lauda Cortonese.

The combination of three of the most important names in modern music is a rare opportunity, according to Philadelphia Singers music director David Hayes. The juxtaposition of Reich and Glass, two of the compositional giants of American music of the last 40 years, on the same program is unusual. All three are considered minimalists, yet they have such unique musical languages that it never sounds like theyre cut from the same cloth.