Kyle Gann: Going to Bed (Homage to Philip Glass) (2012)

In 2011, French pianist Nicolas Horvath asked me to write a piano piece honoring Philip Glass, for a festival he was producing of Glass's music and related works. I instantly knew what to do. Since 1977 I've adored the "Bed" scene from Glass's Einstein on the Beach, which uses only four triads: F minor, E-flat major, C major, and D major. So I started with those four chords and used only the chord changes (transposable) present in that progression. Thus the opening chord progression is f, Eb, C, D, f, Eb, C, A, c, Bb, G - because C to A is like Eb to C; A to c echoes D to f; c to Bb is the same as f to Eb, and so on. I ended the piece with a quintessentially Glassian move from F minor to E major, absent from the "Bed" scene but present in a hundred of his other works. As it turned out, the festival didn't happen, but Nicolas has performed the piece at several of his marathon concerts of minimalist piano music, the first one being on June 28, 2013, at the Protestant Temple in Collioure in southern France. By then, Sarah Cahill had given a private premiere somewhere in the Bay Area.

- Kyle Gann

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