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Old 12-13-2009, 01:45 AM
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paul c paul c is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Mayo, Ireland
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Default Steve Reich

One area which I feel is massively under-rated in this forum is the realm of classical music... I'd like to draw your attention to a New Yoiker by the name of Steve Reich- as well as being a master drummer, he puts together very well thought out compositions for percussion, in the same way one would for any other instrument or ensemble.

Reich is an important influence in the "minimalist" movement of modern classical music, that is to say- making the absolute most out of the absolute least- developing ideas to the max.

He studied percussion in Ghana with Gideon Alorwoyie in 1971, resulting in this piece of music, plainly entitled "Drumming"

Its written for nine drummers, vibes, piccolo and female voices.
The incredible thing about this music is that it builds on itself one note at a time, starting from a single stroke, to two strokes, to three, four, until he gets the effect of a huge percussive vortex.This then changes (one note at a time) to become something different, constantly morphing and evolving slowly over time. I like to compare it to a school of fish or a flock of birds moving. It's a ridiculously interesting concept to work with.

Other interesting pieces for percussion that he has written include

Six Marimbas
Music for Pieces of Wood
Clapping Music

These pieces use a technique known as "phasing", which means basically that two voices originally playing in unison fall gradually more and more out of sync with each other, until you end up eventually with the two overlapping again.

Reich has written music with a similar technique for a whole range of other instruments as well... eg:

String Quartet (this makes extensive use of the paradiddle, on violins and cellos!)
Magnetic Tape

Well worth checking out is this man! He may not be everybody's cup of tea, his music can be pretty controvertial, but if you get in on it it's absolutely fantastic.

Have any of you guys heard of him/like his music? What do you think of this whole concept? I'd be interested to hear all your thoughts on minimal percussion music.
Music is the vernacular of the human soul.

Last edited by paul c; 12-13-2009 at 01:50 AM. Reason: illiteracy
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Old 12-13-2009, 01:50 AM
wy yung wy yung is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 3,029
Default Re: Steve Reich- Contemporary Classical Drumming

I've been aware of Steve Reich for many years now. I do not think the classical world is underated. It's just not what people are doing here, so doesn't get talked about. Feel free to bring it up more often. I'm into checking out everything.

Except this German woman speaking loudly on Scype beside me.
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Old 12-13-2009, 03:41 AM
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Pollyanna Pollyanna is offline
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Default Re: Steve Reich- Contemporary Classical Drumming

A friend introduced me to Steve Reich many years ago. I think it was ECM records. He was into Jan Gaarbarek (sp?) too.

The music always sounded great to me, as do the tracks linked below but after a few of minutes I lose interest. He builds these great frameworks for pieces but I keep wishing at some stage he'd add some juice to it. Maybe a David Gilmour guitar solo lol

So Andreas Wollenveider and King Crimson's Discipline give me more satisfying minimalism kicks than SR. He's no doubt a valuable artist because his pioneering ideas can be applied and adapted to more ... organic? ... juicy? ... styles.

And I remember in the old days reclining whilst in a "mellow" state of mind and enjoying Steve Reich's music greatly :)
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Old 12-13-2009, 05:14 AM
curiousnomad curiousnomad is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 54
Default Re: Steve Reich- Contemporary Classical Drumming

Right now thru 12/16/09 WQXR in NYC (Public Radio) has an ONLINE Steve Reich Festival.

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