Philip Glass | THE VOYAGE


Dennis Russell Davies, Dirigent
Bruckner Orchester Linz



01. The Voyage Prologue
01. The Voyage Act 1
01. The Voyage Act 2
01. The Voyage Act 3

The Voyage is about discoveries and the people who make them – those intrepid souls, who from the beginning of human history, have willingly, even gladly, left the world of the familiar and secure to plunge, often recklessly, into an unknown future. And these „discoveries“ need not be concerned with geographical exploration. Scientists and artists are high on my list of courageous men and women who have changed the world in which we live. ~ Philip Glass (In The Voyage geht es um Entdeckungen und Entdecker, jene unerschrockenen Seelen, die seit Anbeginn der Menschheitsgeschichte die Welt des Sicheren und Bekannten verließen, um die Welt in der wir leben zu verändern.)   SYNOPSIS: Prologue: While a chorus poses eternal questions about the nature of time and space, the Scientist, seated in a wheelchair that descends from the stars, ponders the idea of exploration. Despite faulty equipment, inadequate bodies and finite minds, there always have been people who have the courage to follow where their vision leads.   Act I, Scene 1: Toward the end of the earth’s Ice Age, a space-ship hurtles out of control toward our own solar system. Inside, the Commander, complaining that nothing on her ship works – neither the lights, nor the engines, not even her training, which did not prepare her for this eventuality – foresees a beast licking its chops, waiting for the dead. As the spaceship plunges closer to earth, the First Mate punches up an image of the rapidly approaching planet on his computer and describes its life-giving properties—water, oxygen, vegetation and humanoid forms. Meanwhile, the Second Mate relives his wretched childhood, as the Ship’s Doctor remembers her garden and children at springtime. The spaceship crashes.   Act I, Scene 2: Still at his computer screen, the First Mate sees images of a late-Ice Age planet, whose terrain in some areas is similar to our own. As the Commander asks to see a last glimpse of the planet she and her shipmates will soon forget, the First Mate adjusts his screen to receive a map of the cosmos. In one corner, blinking, is the travelers‘ home planet. Each blink produces a three-note chord. As each crew member takes one of the ship’s pulsating directional crystals, any two of which when brought together will point the way home. He pictures in his mind, the world he would like to live in – the Second Mate pictures a realm ruled by machines, where he turns the sky black (the Europe of the Industrial Revolution); the First Mate pictures a continuation of his voyage (he is transported to a pavilion near the top of a Tibetan mountain); and the Ship’s Doctor pictures a place where people will listen eagerly to her stories (she appears in India, with masses of children around her).   Act I, Scene 3: Alone, the Commander stares at the pulsating crystal in her hand. She would like to have died rather than be bound by boredom. She prepares to exit the spacecraft, wondering what fate awaits her. As the door opens and she steps out, natives, performing the rites of spring, think she is a fantastic creature, barely humanoid. The Commander is swept up in the natives‘ ritual.   Act II, Scene 1: At Granada in 1492, Queen Isabella and the Spanish court bid farewell to Columbus as he sets out for the Indies. As the queen encourages the navigator by quoting from Scripture, members of the court promise him titles, wealth and power. This scene turns out to be…   Act II, Scene 2: …something remembered by Columbus on board the Santa María. The First Mate’s voice, calling out the dawn watch, jolts Columbus back to the sordid realities of life at sea. It is the thirty-second day into the voyage, and his men no longer have faith in him or his mission. The awesome solitude seems to crush in on him when he has a vision of Isabella, who reminds him that his dream, before he set out, was so real it could have come only from God. But, argues Columbus, „As through the expanses of blue I see my own face, and it is old.“ Isabella reminds him of Noah’s faithfulness. The explorer further expresses his doubts about „the order of God, and the Turks and Jews we kill in His name.“ As the queen appears surrounded by a radiant holy light, looking like the Madonna, she calls on the explorer to remember a virgin „who felt in her belly a stirring, and held fast to the faith this was God.“ When Columbus requires a promise that by this expedition he will further the kingdom of God, Isabella, swearing it is so and becoming more clearly a mortal woman, claims to be his queen, his love, his one true God. A bird sings, and the First and Second Mates cry out „Tierra!“.   Act III, Scene 1: In a space station in our solar system in the year 2092, Space Twins 1 and 2 scan various sectors of the universe, seeking the origins of life. At the same time, archeologists Earth Twins 1 and 2, each carrying a glowing crystal from Act I, meet in a research laboratory on earth. While hiking in the Andes, one of them heard a low-pitched tone; the other was digging near the Ganges when she heard a high-pitched tone. As the Earth Twins bring their crystals together, the original three-note chord is recreated, causing the space station’s scanner to focus on the „home“ planet in the cosmos from which the original visitors came.   Act III, Scene 2: The Commander, alone at first, muses on the eternal quest of humanity; It is a goal, perhaps, to be realized in the coming voyage. In a jubilant send-off, various dignitaries and politicians dance before a brass band and a large, enthusiastic crowd. The chorus of good wishes dims as the team of explorers enters the spaceship.   Act III, Scene 3: Inside the spaceship, each member of the expedition, the Commander, Space Twins 1 and 2 and the First Mate, equipped with a telephone headset, bids farewell to his or her loved ones. Once again, mankind is off on a voyage of discovery, exploring the unknown.   Epilogue: As the space travelers fade away, Columbus appears on his deathbed. It is 1506. Dominican monks chant a requiem, and Isabella comes to accompany the explorer to the realm of which she already is a part. As he accuses the queen of failing to keep her promises, she ridicules his assurance as being the child of pride, his actions in the New World as being guided by Lucifer. She invites him to her bed. Columbus resists her, claiming, „The journey that awaits is far more seductive than all your last temptations.“ Still pondering questions raised by man’s eternal curiosity, he is transported to the stars.

LABEL Orange Mountain Music
VERLAG(E) Dunvagen Music Publishers, Inc.
RECORDING 2003 by ORF Landesstudio Oberösterreich, Brucknerhaus Linz
AUDIOPHIL Keine Angabe
GENRE Minimal Music
WEITERE INFORMATIONEN → Website Philip Glass  → Website Bruckner Orchester LinzUA: 12. Oktober 1992, Metropolitan Opera