Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Steve Reich (1936- )

The greatest living composer and one of the founders of minimalism, Steve Reich's music is never as, well, boring, as Philip Glass, in my opinion. Instead of endless repetition with a few arpeggiating variations, Reich takes a pulsing, staccato beat and subtly makes it grow with slowly shifting meters, chords, and instrumentation. If you're familiar with Sufjan Stevens (if not, see Seth's post), Reich is his major classical influence. In Reich's most famous work, Music for 18 Musicians (1974), considered the definitive minimalist piece, he creates amazing, hypnotic soundscapes with conventional instruments. A cello, a violin, three female voices, three marimbas, two clarinets, four pianos, two xylophones, a vibraphone, and maracas are able to collectively sound like something Radiohead made on a computer. And Music for 18 Musicians is a great piece to begin exploring the minimalist genre with; it is nowhere near as repetetive as other pieces. Reich himself says that the first five minutes of the piece had more harmonic movement than any other piece he'd written.

Steve Reich- Music for 18 Musicians

(Thanks to themiserablist for the music)

Requests? Feedback? Feel free to leave a comment.


At February 16, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Reich, its far under apreciated by alot of groups... as are many other "classical" composers of the early 20th century. *ahem* John Cage *ahem*

At February 17, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

first: compliments for your post about Art Ensemble of Chicago(what a great band)!
have you something of Terry Riley?

At February 17, 2006, Blogger Lex10 said...

Here's Steve mentioned in my blog -

At February 17, 2006, Blogger Seth said...

This piece is so amazing, and beats any of Phillip Glass's work by no small margin. You gotta copy his other stuff for me.

At February 18, 2006, Anonymous Clive said...

Thank you so much for the blog, I love it. The information provided for the pieces you post is also interesting and useful. Contextualising the music with the information is wonderful also. I hate to ask, but I have a favour to ask, if you could post the Dvorak cello concerto. I have the J. Du Pre live concert on BBC disc but would love to hear another version.
Nagoya Japan

At February 19, 2006, Anonymous a said...

thank you so much for the music, its really inspiring.

i also have a question: which recording of "music for 18 musicians" did you post? i found three.

At February 19, 2006, Blogger Sam said...

Clive- Thank you for the compliment- I am really happy to know that some people actually read the information instead of going straight for the download. I will have the Yo Yo Ma recording of the Dvorak up soon.

"A"- It's the Ensemble Modern recording, for RCA. I'm glad you like it.

At March 17, 2006, Anonymous Jules said...

I used one sentence from your entry in Steve Reich's biographical description page on a site called


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