It makes sense that an offbeat director such as Peter Greenaway (The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, Prospero's Books) would be attracted to a project such as 4 American Composers, a 1983 British television special profiling John Cage, Meredith Monk, Philip Glass, and Robert Ashley, four U.S. musical artists who haven't been content simply to entertain, but feel compelled to "push the envelope" of music. This episode chronicles the career of the award-winning Philip Glass, a composer trained in mathematics and philosophy, who in his twenties had a musical epiphany when he discovered the techniques of Indian music while transcribing Ravi Shankar's music for a French filmmaker. Glass eventually applied techniques from India, North Africa, and the Himalayas to his seminal work. Greenaway here provides viewers with excerpts from performances of Glass' compositions.
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