07 September 2006


Does everyone know that Steve Reich's birthday is in less than four weeks? I know there are concerts & celebrations world-wide for this man who has been called America's "greatest living composer." Alas, nothing in Tucson, so I'll have to listen to music I have and/or find by then. Right now I am listening to "Music for 18 Musicians" (1976). You too can listen to part of it, which you'll find here if you follow the link to Multimedia. I haven't listened to this music for a long time and had forgotten how utterly freeing it is. If anyone wants to send me comments about their favorite Reich pieces, that would be great. I have by no means listened to all that is available.


At 1:32 PM, Blogger david raphael israel said...

I blogged a little item relating to the Reich 70th some bit ago.

Recommendations? I think you'll enjoy Tehillim/The Desert Music (though I've not listened to it in many years) -- based on work of William Carlos Williams. I note that Cantaloupe Music has a recording of it -- presumably more recent than the recording I enjoyed back in the '80s.


At 5:20 AM, Anonymous A chapman said...

What a pity for you that your part of the world has seen no celebratory concerts. I went to three of the concerts in the Reich festival 'Phases' at the Barbican, London. The last of them - and the last concert of the series - was Music for 18.

It was quite a privilege to be there, I can tell you. The black-capped Reich was playing piano and marimba (or one such tuned percussion instrument, I get mixed up with the names).

During the piece my mind was filled with images of forests, rainfall, trees of water, bear-calls like bass clarinet pulses and other fantastical images. A friend of mine I took along, who didn't know Reich's music much, thought rather of the hum of background radiation. (At a previous concert a French friend, who'd initially thought the music 'like water', changed her mind and said, 'No, it's more like la rosée du matin - that's more beautiful.'

It was such wonderful music to slip into, to slip out of. At some points the music seemed to be playing me. The ego too can melt away. I recalled the Dylan line, 'You lose yourself, you reappear / You suddenly find you got nothing to fear.'

Perhaps it is for this reason - that the music facilitates ego loss - that so many find Reich difficult to get into.

Perhaps it was for this reason too that at the end of the performance, in the midst of a raucous five minute standing ovation, a guy two rows behind us starting shouting wildly: 'You cunt! You cunt! You wouldn't let me... You can't treat me like... I won't stand for this!' We presumed he was shouting at someone sitting next to him or perhaps an usherette. But it might have been the music he was shouting at; it might have been himself - or his selflessness.

It was very inspiring. There's a poem in it, for sure, and I'm writing it. Do you know of any verse inspired by Reich?

At 11:52 PM, Blogger charles said...

Thanks, the report on the concert in London is marvelous. I don't know specifically of any poems inspired by Reich. I might try writing one, or more, soon.

At 9:21 AM, Anonymous A Chapman said...

Great - the world is ripe for Reich-inspired verse, I reckon, Charles. I wrote a poem of eight four-line stanzas inspired by Music for 18 Instruments. As I'll probably send it to one of the London-based poetry magazines, I won't post it up here, though (which'd of course constitute prior pub.). Would be happy to send a copy, though. My work e-mail is a.chapman@roehampton.ac.uk - if you want to mail, I'd be happy to send. See you and hope all's well in Arizona.

-- Adrian

At 12:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...



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