Glassworks is a chamber music work of six movements by Philip Glass. It is regarded as a characteristically Glass-like work. Following his larger-scale concert and stage works, Glassworks was Philip Glass's successful attempt to create a more pop-oriented "Walkman-suitable" work, with considerably shorter and more accessible pieces written for the recording studio. The studio album was released in 1982.

Glassworks was intended to introduce my music to a more general audience than had been familiar with it up to then.

Contents Edit


  • 1 Movements
    • 1.1 "Opening"
    • 1.2 "Floe"
  • 2 References

Movements[edit] Edit

  • I. Opening (piano (with horn at end)) 6'
  • II. Floe (2 flutes, 2 soprano saxophones, 2 tenor saxophones, 2 horns, synthesizer) 7'
  • III. Island (2 flutes, 2 soprano saxophones, tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, 2 horns, viola, violoncello) 8'
  • IV. Rubric (flute, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, 2 horns, organ) 6'
  • V. Façades (2 soprano saxophones, synthesizer, viola, violoncello) 7' - This has its origins in the film score Koyaanisqatsi, but was ultimately not used in the film; it is often performed as a work in its own right (ISWC T-010.461.089-0).
  • VI. Closing (flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, horn, viola, violoncello, piano) 6' - A reprise of Opening.

"Opening"[edit] Edit

"Opening" uses triplet eighth notes, over duple eighth notes, over whole notes in 4/4. Formally it consists of three groups of four measure phrases of three to four chords repeated four times each, ABC:||ABC, which then merges with the nextmovement, "Floe" with the entrance of the horns.

"Floe"[edit] Edit

"Floe" begins with open fifths in the horns while the other members of the ensemble enter with oscillating arpeggio figures (primarily outlining a Major 7th chord). There are two formulaically identical sections to the movement. Although rhythmically driven, the melodic implications of "Floe" occur somewhat coincidentally by orchestration. There is no modulation, but the harmonic progression simply repeats over and over again. The layering of contrasting timbres is characteristic of the piece as a whole.

"Rubric" and "Façades" both appeared in the 2008 documentary about Phillippe Petit, Man on Wire. "Floe" was featured on the soundtrack of the 1989 Italian horror film "La Chiesa" ("The Church").