Passages (Ravi Shankar and Philip Glass album)

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Studio album by
GenreContemporary classical, Hindustani classical, world
Label[Private Music]Private Music]

Passages is a collaborative chamber music studio album co-composed by Ravi Shankar and Philip Glass, released in 1990 through Private Music.[1] Consisting of arrangements by each of the composers around themes written by the other, the album's content is a hybrid of Hindustani classical music and Glass' distinct American minimal contemporary classical style.[2] The album reached a peak position of number three on Billboard's Top World Music Albums chart.



After a slow introduction saxophone plays the Shankar raga melody, subsequently enriched by the two other saxes. A long middle section in quicker tempo treats the material more freely in several parts, concluded with a shorter recapitulation of the opening theme.


The title based on the solfege notes (svaras): "SA DHA NI PA" from the Indian octave (saptaka) based on the first four tones of the Glass melody: "Ré Si Do La" (D-B-C-A). An opening "ad lib" trumpet statement, echoed in the bass bamboo flute. Then the chamber orchestra develops the theme in 4/8-6/8-7/8. The Finale recapitulates the original Glass theme.

Channels and Winds[edit]

This is an instrumental work with vocalists in A-B-A-B-A-B form which was conceived as a bridge between the two Shankar compositions based on the Glass melodies.

Ragas in Minor Scale[edit]

The Glass theme is introduced, after the veena introduction, by the cello. The opening section is in 6/8, middle section 4/8, closing in 4/8.

Meetings Along the Edge[edit]

A fast-paced work based on: 1) a "Middle Eastern" sounding Shankar theme in 7; 2) a second theme also by Ravi and also in 7 but of a somewhat different length; 3) A Glass theme in 4. Glass also added an Introduction and other rhythmic ideas. The themes are stated, blended and combined in the Finale.

Prashanti (Peacefulness)[edit]

An extended orchestral work in two parts: Musical depiction of joyful people living in harmony. Slowly, greed, envy, hatred and violence creep into their contented lives. Out of this chaos a voice sings out in Vedic prayer and a feeling of spiritual awakening, peace and tranquillity descends upon people's minds:[3]

"Hey Nath, hama para kripa kijiye. Door kara andhakar, gyan ka aloka dijiye, hinsa dwesh lobha bamese chhin lijiye, manamey prem shanti bhar dijiye."

(Oh, Lord. Be benevolent to us. Drive the darkness away. Shed upon us the light of wisdom. Take the jealousy, envy, greed and anger from us, and fill our hearts with love and peace.)


Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars[1]

Allmusic's Jim Brenholts awarded the album four of five stars, calling the music "brilliant". Benholts wrote that Shankar's "smooth" style and Glass' dissonant orchestrations mixed well, and recommended Passages to fans of other minimalist composers such as John Cage, Steve Reich and Terry Riley.[1]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Offering" (Ravi Shankar)– 9:47
  2. "Sadhanipa" (Philip Glass) – 8:37
  3. "Channels and Winds" (Glass) – 8:00
  4. "Ragas in Minor Scale" (Glass) – 7:37
  5. "Meetings Along the Edge" (Shankar) – 8:11
  6. "Prashanti" (Shankar) – 13:40

Track listing adapted from Allmusic.[1]


Credits adapted from Allmusic.[1]


In the United States, Passages reached a peak position of number three on Billboard's Top World Music Albums chart.[5]

Chart (1990) Peak
Billboard's Top World Music Albums 3

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Brenholts, Jim. "Passages". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 29, 2012. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)
  2. ^ "Passages – Philip Glass". 2017-08-15. Retrieved 2017-08-19.
  3. ^ "Passages". Dunvagen Music Publishers. Archived from the original on June 10, 2016. Retrieved April 6, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)
  4. ^ Walls, Seth Colter. "The Complete Sony Recordings - Review". Pitchfork Media. Condé Nast. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  5. ^ "Passages: Charts & Awards". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 29, 2012. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)