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  • Glass's career-making 1976 opera, a collaboration with avant-garde impresario Robert Wilson, was revolutionary then, revered now. "It's not (just) an artifact of its era, it's timeless," says the New York Times. "Einstein must be seen and re-seen, encountered and savored ... an experience to cherish for a lifetime." This "properly hypnotic" 1993 recording, says the Washington Post, is "more complete than the first recording and superior in both performance and sound." The three-CD set was reissued in January 2012 to coincide with Glass's 75th birthday and a rare international tour of the opera.

  • Powaqqatsi, Geoffrey Reggio's 1988 wordless visual essay on "life in transition," the second in a cinematic trilogy, anticipated the looming problems of globalization on the natural landscape. Glass matches Reggio's stunning imagery with music of "convincing grandeur," says the New York Times.

  • Director Paul Schrader's highly stylized vision of the life of Japanese author Yukio Mishima finds "its textures made more shimmering by the Philip Glass score," featuring Kronos Quartet, says The New Yorker. Glass, Schrader, and costume designer Eiko Ishioka shared a "Best Artistic Contribution" Award at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival.