Beethoven and more 2011 podcast #14: Reich′s greatest ′hit′ | Beethovenfest | DW | 30.09.2011
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Beethovenfest

Beethoven and more 2011 podcast #14: Reich's greatest 'hit'

'Music for 18 Musicians' exerts a subliminal, irresistible pull. The work by the legendary American composer Steve Reich was performed in Bonn by the composer himself in tandem with the Ensemble Modern.

Composer Steve Reich performs in concert

Composer Steve Reich in concert

Steve Reich
Music for 18 Musicians
Steve Reich, piano
Synergy Vocals
Ensemble Modern
MP3 recorded in the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany on September 21, 2011 by Deutsche Welle (DW)

Steve Reich's performance in Bonn was during the Beethovenfest 2011, so it was only natural to ask him whether Beethoven has influenced him in his creative development. The answer was surprising:

"Basically I have learned the most from medieval music and from Bartok and Stravinsky, as well as from John Coltrane, the jazz musician. Much more than from Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and all of the other composers of that era put together. The entire classic and Romantic period is filled with geniuses that I don't listen to and from whom I've learned absolutely nothing."

This concert includes a modern classic: "Music for 18 Musicians," composed in 1976. Lasting about an hour, the work is written for clarinets, bass clarinets, women's voices, pianos, vibraphone, marimbas and xylophones. The goal is simply "to make beautiful music," said the composer.

This is music of our time - but it is also connected to a particular place?

"Beethoven, who was born here in Bonn, carries his time and place. I was born and raised in New York City, and you can hear that in my speech and in the rhythmic energy of my music. But inside of me is New York City, whether I like it or not and no matter where I am. The more composers give honest testimony to their own time and place, the more we tend to love them," Reich commented.

Author: Rick Fulker
Editor: Greg Wiser

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