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About this Piece

Philip Glass is now one of the most commercially successful composers in history. Yet he started out like the rest of the minimalists: as an experimental rebel. Working in Europe in the mid ’60s, assisting Ravi Shankar on film scores, Glass was forced to move back to New York because so few musicians would play his music. “All through the first ten years, when I got into concert halls, people would throw things at us. People would start fights. That happened for years!” recalls Glass. Even in America the establishment snubbed him. The Guggenheim Foundation turned down his requests for grants eleven years in a row. Part time work – plumbing, decorating, taxi driving – kept him afloat into his early 40s. One plus One for amplified table top is a breakthrough work for Glass. The score is made up of two rhythmic units, which Glass instructs the performer to combine in any way they like, wrapping the resultant rhythm out on a miked table top. It’s as minimal as Minimalism gets. Yet it’s a blueprint for the additive rhythmical process that would become a fundamental tool for all Glass’ subsequent compositions. Interestingly, the US Copyright Office refused to register the work, pronouncing the piece a “theoretical model.”