steve reich

Content tagged as steve reich.

THE CHANGING CULTURE OF CLASSICAL MUSIC: Real world murder in the house

THE CHANGING CULTURE OF CLASSICAL MUSIC: Real world murder in the house

When the recording of Robert Moran’s new opera was released in '94 there was an almost predictable ripple of controversy in the more staid sections of the classical world. And not because this dark, disconcerting piece offered no conventional narrative structure, that one of the performers was proto-punk Iggy Pop (who spoke his part...

STEVE REICH INTERVIEWED (1990): The maximal minimalist

STEVE REICH INTERVIEWED (1990): The maximal minimalist

American composer Steve Reich finishes telling of his new work – an enormous three-years-in-the making multi-media project – and then reflects on the austerity of his early music which enraged audiences two decades ago. “Yeah, it’s easy to see backwards and how all these new things came from that early stuff –...

STEVE REICH'S CAREER CONSIDERED: From taxi driver to concert master

STEVE REICH'S CAREER CONSIDERED: From taxi driver to concert master

It’s a rare composer who can simultaneously alienate and enthral distinct sections of an audience:  Igor Stravinsky unintentionally managed it in 1913 when he premiered The Rite of Spring before an outraged crowd and there were fistfights in the aisles of the Theatre des Champs-Elysees, and so did Alban Berg the same year in Vienna...

THE DIFFICULT ARTS UNDER NAZISM: The uncomfortable past -- and present

THE DIFFICULT ARTS UNDER NAZISM: The uncomfortable past -- and present

Back in the early NIneties there was a modicum of good news about the career of the German rock band Endseig whose name meant Final Victory. It was that they weren’t particularly popular and their records sold fewer than a couple of thousand copies. That however may come as small comfort to anyone who scans their lyrics....

Kronos Quartet: Floodplain (Nonesuch/Warners)

Kronos Quartet: Floodplain (Nonesuch/Warners)

For more than 30 years the Kronos Quartet have been innovators, rarely looking back or playing pieces more than a few times, always on the lookout for contemporary material and daring projects. They have recorded with John Zorn and Allen Ginsberg, played material by Jimi Hendrix, Terry Riley, the remarkable Inuit singer Tagaq,...

Philip Glass: Koyaanisqatsi (1983)

Philip Glass: Koyaanisqatsi (1983)

There are few things more depressing than observing a revolution become a style (or the Beatles’ Revolution become a Nike ad). Or to witness innovation morph into cliché. When director Godfrey Reggio’s innovative film Koyaanisqatsi appeared in the early Eighties it had an immediate impact on popular music and film culture....

Jaga Jazzist: One Armed Bandit (Ninja Tune/Border)

Jaga Jazzist: One Armed Bandit (Ninja Tune/Border)

In which our Norwegian big band of jazz-and-elsewhere players borrow heftily from all comers (epic soundtracks and European art films, minimalists, Afrobeat, jazz-rock) and deliver something of a quilt of jazzy colours. They say it is "Zappa-esque, more humorous prog-rock" but in its scale and changing moods, much of it...

GLASS, A PORTRAIT OF PHILIP IN TWELVE PARTS, a documentary by SCOTT HICKS (Madman DVD)

GLASS, A PORTRAIT OF PHILIP IN TWELVE PARTS, a documentary by SCOTT HICKS (Madman DVD)

In his insightful, provocative and usefully gossipy book The Rest is Noise (2007), the writer and critic Alex Ross took a free-wheeling survey of 20th century classical music and addressed why the damn stuff had become so difficult for "modern" audiences. As with jazz -- which lost its populist mandate when free form arrived and...

Steve Reich: It's Gonna Rain (1965)

Steve Reich: It's Gonna Rain (1965)

Sampling, found sound, loops and tape manipulation are commonplace these days -- but back in '65 this piece by minimalist Steve Reich (interviewed here) anticipated a whole style of experimental music. And as with John Lennon -- who allegedly put the tape of the Beatles' b-side Rain backwards into his home player and loved the strange sound...

Various Artists: Late Night Tales, The Cinematic Orchestra (latenighttales/Southbound)

Various Artists: Late Night Tales, The Cinematic Orchestra (latenighttales/Southbound)

Strictly speaking this should be credited to "Various Artists" because this 19-track collection is yet another in the Late Night Tales mix-tape series where an artist or group is invited to compile a disc of material which suits those lower-light moods. The Cinematic Orchestra here bring together such diverse spirits as Nick Drake...

ABSOLUTE WILSON, a documentary by KATHARINA OTTO-BERNSTEIN (Southbound DVD)

ABSOLUTE WILSON, a documentary by KATHARINA OTTO-BERNSTEIN (Southbound DVD)

Choreographer Robert Wilson is one of those rare individuals who can dress a stage to look like a private dream inspired by the stillness of a Rene Magritte paiting or a mad cabaret populated by frogs and floating chairs. Either way, at a glance you can spot a Wilson design. They are idiosyncratic, unique, often visionary, sometimes...

Charles Amirkhanian: Just (1972)

Charles Amirkhanian: Just (1972)

Unless he was blessed with some weird insight, it's a fair guess that American sound-poet and composer Amirkhanian could not know how this text-sound piece would be heard in the wake of what happened in Auckland's harbour in 1985. One night in July as the Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior was moored at a central wharf in downtown it was...

Arthur Russell: Another Thought (1985)

Arthur Russell: Another Thought (1985)

Curiously, it has only been in recent years that the British music press "discovered" Arthur Russell. But maybe not so curious: Russell died of Aids-related illnesses in '92 and although he left behind literally many hundreds of reels of recordings (everything from disco through experimental pop to Russell singing with just his cello...

POINT MUSIC (1992-2002): A decade of delivering new music

POINT MUSIC (1992-2002): A decade of delivering new music

In many ways Rory Johnston looked exactly what he was, the vice-president of A&R (artists and repertoire) of a contemporary classical music label. It was there in the high, broad forehead and clear eyes, in the modulated speech and the vocabulary which didn't shy from a polysyllable or two. When I met him in the mid Nineties in...

Brian Eno and David Byrne: The Jezebel Spirit (1981)

Brian Eno and David Byrne: The Jezebel Spirit (1981)

When the Brian Eno and David Byrne album My Life in the Bush of Ghosts appeared in 1981, the musical, social and cultural climate was very different. Hip-hop had yet to establish the widespread use of sampling (although of course there had been artists who had used the technique), and the idea of a beat-driven album by two intellectual boffins...

JOHN PSATHAS, 21st CENTURY MAN: The helix of creativity

JOHN PSATHAS, 21st CENTURY MAN: The helix of creativity

It seems entirely fitting that the final piece on New Zealand composer John Psathas' new album Helix should be dedicated to Jack Body, a composer like Psathas who has always looked outward as much as inward for his inspiration. Body has found source material in Indonesia and in his tribute Waiting:Still, Psathas pairs the spare piano figures...

BRIAN ENO: THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (2011) (Sexy Intellectual/Triton DVD)

BRIAN ENO: THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (2011) (Sexy Intellectual/Triton DVD)

Despite the title here being appropriated from David Bowie, this does seem a fair description of Brian Eno, the self-described "non-musician" who made his name in Roxy Music as the flamboyant synth-twiddler who brought an avant-garde sensibility to a band which might have otherwise simply sounded retro and poopy. Eno's sonic...

HAIL BOP! A PORTRAIT OF JOHN ADAMS, a doco by TONY PALMER (Voiceprint DVD)

HAIL BOP! A PORTRAIT OF JOHN ADAMS, a doco by TONY PALMER (Voiceprint DVD)

Early in this insightful 100 minute portrait of the American composer John Adams by Tony Palmer, Adams cites Milton Babbitt's article Who Cares If You Listen? and being struck by the cavalier attitude of many composers who knew they had no audience and had created a mindset which "basically said 'Screw you'." "I remember...

Tags related to steve reich