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Ode To Gravity:
The Music of Steve Reich, 1980

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Item Type: Sound Recording Duration: 111 min
Event Type: Interview and Music Program Origin: KPFA

Charles Amirkhanian interviews composer Steve Reich in May of 1980. The interview begins with Reich giving a brief description of his childhood experiences as a piano student and member of a school band. He then plays two recordings of his “Music for a Large Ensemble”, highlighting the ways in which he revises a piece based on his ability to rehearse it, explaining that he always prefers to work with his own ensemble, perfecting a piece, before allowing it to be played by others. Reich then continues to focus on the ability for each performer to bring their own expression to Reich’s compositions, by playing two versions of his “Violin Phase” played at different tempos. In the second half of the program, Reich touches upon his renewed interest in Orthodox Judaism, including the chanting of Hebrew scripture, and how these studies have influenced his works such as “Octet”. The program ends with Reich’s “Variations for Winds, Strings and Keyboards” which is slightly scaled down from the full orchestral version that may be better known to most listeners. All in all this is a fantastic look at what it takes to make a performance of Reich’s consonant minimal music shine.

Part 1 of 2:  
Musical Selections:  Music for 18 Musicians [excerpt] (1974-76) -- Music for a Large Ensemble [excerpt, Holland Festival, June 1979] (1978) (4:00) -- Music for a Large Ensemble [excerpts, New York] (1978) (15:30) -- Violin Phase [excerpt, Paul Zukofsky’s 1969 performance] (1967) (1:55) -- Violin Phase [excerpt, Shem Guibbory’s 1980 performance] (1967) (6:10)
Performers:  Netherlands Wind Ensemble (Large Ensemble, Holland]
Steve Reich and Musicians (Large Ensemble, NY]
Paul Zukofsky, violin (Violin, 1969)
Shem Guibbory, violin (Violin, 1980)
Genres:  New Music; Minimalism
Subject:  Reich, Steve, 1936-; New music; Minimal music; Vocal quartets with instrumental ensemble; Vocal duets with instrumental ensemble; Violin music; Electronic and violin music; String quartets (Violins (4))
People:  Amirkhanian, Charles; Reich, Steve, 1936-; Zukofsky, Paul; Guibbory, Shem
Recording Date:  5/12/1980
First Broadcast Date:  5/12/1980
 
Part 2 of 2:  
Musical Selections:  Octet [1st half] (1979) (10:30) -- Variations for Winds, Strings and Keyboards (1979, rev. 1980) (23:00)
Performers:  Steve Reich and Musicians: (Octet)
Virgil Blackwell, wind instruments (Octet)
Mort Silver, wind instruments (Octet)
Nurit Tilles, piano ; organ (Octet ; Variations)
Ed Niemann , piano ; organ (Octet ; Variations)
Steve Reich, organ (Variations)
Joe Kubera, piano (Variations)
Larry Karush, piano (Variations)
Ellen Bardekoff, oboe (Variations)
Vivian Burdick, oboe (Variations)
Paul McCandless, oboe (Variations)
Mort Silver, flute (Variations)
Richard Cohen, flute (Variations)
Ed Joffe. flute (Variations)
Genres:  New Music; Minimalism
Subject:  Reich, Steve, 1936-; New music; Minimal music; Octets (Pianos (2), flute, piccolo, violins (2), viola, cello); Variations (Chamber orchestra)
People:  Amirkhanian, Charles; Reich, Steve, 1936-; Blackwell, Virgil; Silver, Mort; Tilles, Nurit; Niemann, Edmund; Kubera, Joseph; Karush, Larry; Bardekoff, Ellen; Burdick, Vivian; McCandless, Paul; Silver, Mort; Cohen, Richard (Saxophonist); Joffe, Ed
Recording Date:  5/12/1980
First Broadcast Date:  5/12/1980
 
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