Glass: Piano Works
"The piano etudes of Philip Glass were, like 19th century examples of the form, technical studies. Yet they are also, like Chopin's etudes, little compositional studies that establish a set of parameters and explore it in a basic way. They offer the excellent means to come to grips with Glass' musical language, and they reveal the personalities of their performers more than most of his other compositions...
Icelandic pianist Vikingur Olafsson emerged to acclaim as part of a joint recital of all 20 etudes at the Barbican in London, and his work here fulfills the promise shown. After an overture from Glassworks (1981), Olafsson launches into a sequence of 11 etudes. He doesn't follow the original order, but this is all to the good: the Glass etudes are self-contained pieces, and his progression is convincing. Olafsson's touch is light, sweeping, dreamy, and evocative of the mystical side of the composer's personality. He catches the logic of each etude as it unfolds the implications of the very simple material with which it begins... This is a very fine Glass recording, beautifully engineered in an Icelandic hall." ~ James Manheim
"Ólafsson’s interpretations inhabit a unique, distinct and extraordinary world all their own...[he] possesses that rare gift of illuminating a familiar work in unexpected ways, revealing hidden depths and drawing out its best qualities...In Glass’s music, each repetition is enriched by subtle changes in colour, voice-leading and articulation, as if Ólafsson were continually refreshing the page on his musical server."
Gramophone Magazine April 2017