Piece in the Shape of a Square

Manuel Zurria, flutes

I’ve been a rabid fan of Philip Glass’s early austere minimalist pieces from the late ’60s and early ’70s since I was in high school, but while pieces like Music in Similar Motion almost never left my turntable (much to the chagrin of the rest of my family), others were just names I read about longingly but was never able to actually hear. Thanks to a new two-CD set on the seemingly inexhaustible Orange Mountain Music label featuring the enterprising Italian ensemble Alter Ego, many of Glass’s earliest additive process works are finally available commercially. I have a particular fondness for Piece in the Shape of a Square, a 1968 work which proves that early Glass and early Reich were not as stylistically far apart as their later work became.

—FJO