Einstein on the Beach

Release date
11 Oct 1993
Running length
20 tracks
Running time


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    Track     Duration Listeners
1 Knee 1 8:01 11,560
2 Train 1 21:20 7,118
3 Trial 1, Entrance 5:41 1,476
4 Trial 1, "Mr. Bojangles" 16:26 1,236
5 Trial 1, "All Men Are Equal" 4:29 1,122
6 Knee 2 6:08 5,338
7 Dance 1 15:48 4,685
8 Night Train 20:05 4,366
9 Knee 3 6:28 4,556
10 Trial 2 / Prison, "Prematurely Air-Conditioned Supermarket" 12:14 829
11 Trial 2 / Prison, Ensemble 6:36 723
12 Trial 2 / Prison, "I feel the Earth Move" 4:08 745
13 Dance 2 20:01 4,047
14 Knee 4 7:03 4,039
15 Building 10:18 3,764
16 Bed, Cadenza 1:52 749
17 Bed, Prelude 4:22 705
18 Bed, Aria 8:10 623
19 Spaceship 12:48 4,019
20 Knee 5 8:02 5,238

About this album

Einstein on the Beach (1976) is a pivotal work in the oeuvre of Philip Glass. It is the first, longest, and most famous of the composer’s operas, yet it is in almost every way unrepresentative of them. Einstein was, by design, a glorious “one-shot” - a work that invented its context, form and language, and then explored them so exhaustively that further development would have been redundant. But, by its own radical example, Einstein prepared the way - it gave permission - for much of what has happened in music theater since its premiere.

Einstein broke all the rules of opera. It was in four interconnected acts and five hours long, with no intermissions (the audience was invited to wander in and out at liberty during performances). The acts were intersticed by what Glass and Wilson called “knee plays” — brief interludes that also provided time for scenery changes. The text consisted of numbers, solfege syllables and some cryptic poems by Christopher Knowles, a young, neurologically-impaired man with whom Wilson had worked as an instructor of disturbed children for the New York public schools. To this were added short texts by choreographer Lucinda Childs and Samuel M. Johnson, an actor who played the Judge in the “Trial” scenes and the bus driver in the finale. There were references to the trial of Patricia Hearst (which was underway during the creation of the opera); to the mid-’70s radio lineup on New York’s WABC; to the popular song “Mr. Bojangles”; to the Beatles and to teen idol David Cassidy. Einstein sometimes seemed a study in sensory overload, meaning everything and nothing.

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  • nwardez

    interesting... i find this 1993 version vastly superior to the earlier one. it's been removed from spotify and rdio, luckily it can be found on grooveshark.

    1 Apr 8:17pm Reply
  • eyot08

    Greatest music ever! Have to say I like the other (1979) version better than this one.

    13 Feb 2013 Reply
  • sawaawawa

    Genius. Once you hit the wall and the repetition falls away, the epiphany is worth the effort. [2]

    28 Jun 2012 Reply
  • roiboi


    19 Nov 2011 Reply
  • IlaiA

    I love how the Knee theme repeats throughout the album and finally climaxes with 5. Feels like you finally settled everything with everyone, and got closure. You can now live in peace.

    5 Oct 2011 Reply
  • kempo23

    Listening to "train 1" you feel like you've lost 5 hours. so subversive and hypnotic, time almost stands still.

    7 Jan 2011 Reply
  • yiffyskunk420

    easily his greatest work ever. just got the 1979 4-disc version and i like it much better than the re-recorded 1993 3-disc version!!! wow!!!!!!

    22 Oct 2010 Reply
  • Carewnazdrewna

    Good for spring :)

    22 Feb 2010 Reply
  • Edelce

    de los mejores de Glass!

    20 Dec 2009 Reply
  • Skooma714

    "Building" is awesome as are the librettos. I love the jazziness of it. Anyone know artists who do something similar?

    24 Sep 2009 Reply
  • yiffyskunk420

    Holy. Moley. I think the only word I could use to describe this is "Epic"

    4 Aug 2009 Reply
  • jefffq

    listening to this is far better than occupying a prematurely air-conditioned supermarket

    20 Jul 2009 Reply
  • Bleach00

    The narrations are slightly weird. Superb backing however.

    28 Mar 2009 Reply
  • dundee12

    had a hard time getting into this one...

    1 Feb 2009 Reply
  • Brian_F

    So... happy?

    21 Sep 2008 Reply
  • Exelebrator113

    pure magic.

    1 May 2008 Reply
  • Araken_Starway

    also my fav!

    26 Apr 2008 Reply
  • xraos

    absolutely brilliant and magic!

    11 Jan 2008 Reply
  • dmaxRadio

    Genius. Once you hit the wall and the repetition falls away, the epiphany is worth the effort.

    4 Mar 2007 Reply
  • All 24 shouts

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