Kyaw Kyaw Naing, Bang on a Can, Philip Glass

Kyaw Kyaw Naing and Bang on a Can
Bang On A Can Meets Kyaw Kyaw Naing
(Cantaloupe Music 21023)

Bang on a Can plays the music of Burmese composer and master percussionist Kyaw Kyaw Naing. Naing plays the pat waing, the traditional Burmese drum-circle instrument made of 21 tuned drums. He is joined in this exhilarating session by Ma Aye Myint or Maung Maung Myint Swe on Si Wa (another percussion instrument) and the current Bang on a Can ensemble and special guest violinist Todd Reynolds (Ethel). Playing transcriptions of traditional Burmese music, the group nails this exotic melodic music. Even the improvisations, where BOAC members take spirited solos, are highly arranged.

Philip Glass and Bang on a Can
Music in Fifths/Two Pages
(Cantaloupe 21016)

Probably America’s most popular classical composer, Philip Glass is also the most visible of the Minimalists. But one really has to go back to his early work to find real hard core minimalism. Music in Fifths (1969) and Two Pages (1967 or 1968) are two excellent examples of this. Glass created these pieces by adding and subtracting notes from his repeating melodies to create hypnotic layers of undulating serpentine notes. Bang on a Can updates the well known original recordings by re-orchestrating the pieces for BOAC. Mark Stewart (guitar), Wendy Sutter (cello), Evan Ziporyn (clarinets), Robert Black (bass), David Cossin (marimba) and Lisa Moore (piano) turn in an amazing new definitive performance of these classics of early Minimalism.

David Beardsley
September 2004

Originally published in the Downtown Music Gallery Newsletter

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