Philip Glass – Symphony No. 4, ‘Heroes’, Neuköln (1996)

Heroes Symphony is a symphony (also known as Symphony No. 4 “Heroes”) composed by American composer Philip Glass in 1996 based on the album “Heroes” by David Bowie. Glass also based his earlier Low Symphony on the David Bowie album, Low. [source]

“Neuköln” is an instrumental piece written by David Bowie and Brian Eno in 1977 for the album “Heroes”. It was the last of three consecutive instrumentals on side two of the original vinyl album, following “Sense of Doubt” and “Moss Garden.”

Neuköln (correctly spelled with a double “L”) is a district of Berlin. Bowie lived in Berlin for a time in 1977, although not in Neukölln but in Schöneberg. The music has been interpreted as reflecting in part the rootlessness of the Turkish immigrants who made up a large proportion of the area’s population. NME journalists Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray described “Neuköln” as “a mood piece: the Cold War viewed through a bubble of blood or Harry Lime’s last thoughts as he dies in the sewer in The Third Man. The final section features Bowie’s plaintive saxophone “booming out across a harbour of solitude, as if lost in fog.” [source]

The six movements of Symphony No. 4 : 1. Heroes (5:53) / 2. Abdulmajid (8:53) / 3. Sense of Doubt (7:20) / 4. Sons of the Silent Age (8:18) / 5. Neuköln (6:41) / 6. V2 Schneider (6:48)

Composer – Philip Glass  / Associate Conductor – Michael Riesman / Principal Conductor – Dennis Russel Davies / Orchestra  – American Composers Orchestra / Written By David Bowie and Brian Eno

[link to movement four: Sons of the Silent Age]

[Link to the Aphex Twin remix from the album “Heroes” Symphony: From the Music of David Bowie & Brian Eno.]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: