Steve Reich

Runner's high

A friend from church gave me an old treadmill which she described apologetically as "state-of-the-art 1985."

“It’s as loud as a helicopter,” she warned, “but we just replaced the belt.”

Never mind that the belt is as narrow as a balance beam, get this -- the speed adjustment knob goes from turtle to rabbit.  I love that knob more than words can say.

Super Tuesday

If you don't already know about it, allow me to introduce you to NPR Music's First Listen. They stream new albums in their entirety before the albums are released. There are usually 4 or 5 available at any one time.

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Steve vs. Stephen: Colbert disses minimalism

Stephen Colbert gets angered anytime someone snubs him.  In this case, Steve Reich's Pulitzer sets Colbert off. There's a brief commercial first, then the segment:
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Not the university type

One of the finalists for this year's Pulitzer Prize in Music was a piece introduced last March down the Thruway. “7 Etudes for Solo Piano,” by Don Byron was premiered last March in Hallwall’s Contemporary Art Center in Buffalo.
 
But Byron didn't win. Steve Reich did. Steve ReichSteve Reich
 
Steve Reich's Double Sextet is "a major work that displays an ability to channel an initial burst of energy into a large-scale musical event, built with masterful control and consistently intriguing to the ear." That's according to the Pulitzer Prize committee, which awarded Reich the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in Music for Double Sextet.
 
"The piece can be played in two ways," Reich told NPR Monday. "Either with 12 musicians or with six playing against a recording of themselves."
 
 
After hearing about the award, Reich said, "While they certainly gave it to composers, like, eventually, Charles Ives, Aaron Copland, John Adams ... there were a lot of very important people that they passed over who were not university types, and I'm not a university type. There's a bend in the road that happened, and that undoubtedly was part of my being selected."
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The year of musical thinking

In a recent interview, American writer Philip Roth told a story about his Romanian friend Norman Manea.

“Under Ceausescu, Norman went to an older writer from the Party to complain about his readership. The man said, ‘Norman, all a writer needs are eight readers. Think about it. Why do you need more than eight readers? That's enough.

[Pause.]

You, unfortunately, have only three.’”

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Running with Steve Reich II

A few days ago I wrote about running with Steve Reich’s minimalist music on my iPod.

The American composer wrote back. He said,

“Tell Brenda I read her blog and am glad she runs to my music. That's a good use for it. She also points out how classical music doesn't keep a steady beat and is no good for running. Well, tell her that's true for Brahms, Mahler and many other romantic composers of the 19th century, but she should give J.S. Bach a shot. Something as easy to find as the Brandenburg Concertos. He - if correctly played - certainly keeps a steady beat and would seem like a natural joy to run to.

All the best,
Steve”

* * * * *

Dear Steve,

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Running with Steve Reich

I started running eleven years ago, and I’ve run essentially the same four-mile route from the start. The first mile follows the Erie Canal, then jogs south. There’s a long, upward slope, a left by the college sign, and then a loop around the campus of the State University of New York at Brockport. The route winds through arches, down brick walkways and through a tunnel of locust trees. At the end, I huff up a staircase to a place where someone’s sprayed “REPOMAN” on the concrete wall of a bridge. At the end of a run, I’m always glad to see Repoman.

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