Allen Ginsberg - Wichita Vortex Sutra #3 (Composition by Philip Glass)

Wichita Vortex Sutra #3 is a poem set to music by Allen Ginsberg and Philip Glass. In 1988 Philip Glass and beat poet Allen Ginsberg collaborated on a spoken-word, chamber orchestra album entitled, "Hydrogen Jukebox." In Glass' on words:"In 1988...I happened to run into Allen Ginsberg at St. Mark's Bookshop in New York and asked him if he would perform with me. We were in the poetry section, and he grabbed a book from the shelf and pointed out Wichita Vortex Sutra. The poem, written in 1966 and reflecting the anti-war mood of the times, seemed highly appropriate for the occasion. I composed a piano piece to accompany Allen's reading, which took place at the Schubert Theater on Broadway."Allen and I so thoroughly enjoyed the collaboration that we soon began talking about expanding our performance into an evening-length music-theater work. It was right after the 1988 presidential election, and neither Bush nor Dukakis seemed to talk about anything that was going on. I remember saying to Allen, if these guys aren't going to talk about the issues then we should."The piece was intended to form a portrait of America covering the 1950s through the late 1980s. Glass and Ginsberg sought to incorporate the personal poems of Ginsberg, reflecting on social issues: the anti-war movement, the sexual revolution, drugs, eastern philosophy, environmental issues. The six vocal parts were thought to represent six archetypal American characters- a waitress, a policeman, a businessman, a cheerleader, a priest, and a mechanic.

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