I went over to the public space at 180 Maiden Lane. As I sat at the piano trying to remember if I actually know how to play anything (my repertoire seems always to evaporate, must always be replenished) I summoned the Wichita Vortex Sutra and Metamorphosis #2, both by Philip Glass. I tried some Alkan but it felt too creaky and weird in that space. That damned Bach Invention which I will never memorize or play perfectly, that actually sounded pretty good until the memory lapse. But it was the Glass pieces that prompted a woman to ask me what I was playing. It was the Vortex, and she asked if it was part of some suite or collection by Glass that I’ve never heard of and don’t remember what she called it. I told her it was a standalone piece, remembering later that I could have added that it was originally performed with a reading of Allen Ginsberg’s poem of the same name.
She recognized it as Glass. Who wouldn’t? Well, maybe that’s not a fair question. That piece is among his less formulaic and monotonous. I wouldn’t call it difficult but it takes a lot of refined muscle control, which at this point in my life I don’t have like I used to. I’ll try and work it up to respectability again and make that my go-to piece for when I can get at the piano at 180 Maiden. I’ll be a superstar.
Funny about the title of this, I didn’t think of it that way but Glass keeps cranking out symphonies like he’s going to live to be 180.