Beethoven and more 2011 podcast #13: Minimal music to maximum effect | Beethovenfest | DW | 30.09.2011
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Beethoven and more 2011 podcast #13: Minimal music to maximum effect

American composer Steve Reich, a founding father of minimal music, performed in Bonn two weeks before his 75th birthday.

Composer Steve Reich

Composer Steve Reich

Steve Reich
Drumming - Part One for four pairs of tuned bongo drums
Steve Reich, percussion
Ensemble Modern
MP3 recorded in the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, Bonn, on September 21, 2011 by Deutsche Welle (DW)

Steve Reich is a cult figure. Raised and trained in the European music tradition, his influences extend to African and Indonesian music as well as jazz. Reich has had a decisive impact on the course of 20th century music history. In the early 1960's he began to write music in which rhythm, recognizable melodies, simpler harmonies and natural instruments (in contrast to electronic) were once again paramount. He recognized early that in the Western tradition there has always been a close connection between "serious" and "entertainment" music.

Reich, who professes to loving Bach and Stravinsky as well as jazz musician John Coltrane, received instruction from Gideon Alorwoyie in the art of African percussion in 1970 during his stay at the University of Ghana in Accra. That experience found its creative expression in his first masterpiece, "Drumming," which appeared the following year.

At first listen, "Drumming" might seem to be an extremely simple work, consisting only of rhythmic expression. Beneath the surface, however, there are accentual shifts and temporal substructures that lend complexity to the piece and put the listener inescapably under their spell. In this concert recording, the composer is one of the performers. This is part one of the four-part composition.

Author: Rick Fulker
Editor: Greg Wiser

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