Notes & Reviews:
A student of Darius Milhaud and Luciano Berio, composer Steve Reich (b. 1936) quickly developed a style all his own inspired by Baroque music, Bartók, Webern and Stravinsky, as well as jazz, traditional music (especially African), and Hebrew cantillation. As a trailblazing exponent of minimalist music, Reich rejected the characteristic complexity of mid-20th-century classical harmony and tonality in order to make large-scale works from minimal materials - a single chord, a brief musical motif, a spoken exclamation. In this profile he looks back on the key stages of his 40-year career, from the formation of his own group to the American avant-garde he helped to create, from new video performances to his quasi-religious music. Despite his success and wide recognition, Steve Reich has never renounced his independent spirit. Features clips from performances and concerts in Le Havre, Tokyo, Rome, New York and Manchester. Bonus: "Talks in Tokyo with Steve Reich" (18 min.) & "A brief History of Music by Steve Reich" (9 min.)
I strongly recommend this film as both a comprehensive introduction to the full range of the music of Steve Reich and as a fascinating portrait of one of the most interesting composers - or indeed, artists in any medium - of our time.
This video should appeal to anyone curious about recent American art music; for those interested in the music of Steve Reich, this is the primer.
American Record Guide
As we know, he was very wrong. Now Steve Reich is in his 70s and recently won the Pulitzer Prize. This documentary was made by Eric Darmon, who also made an entertaining documentary on Philip Glass called Looking Glass. The difference between the two documentaries offers an interesting gloss on the differences between the two composers. Glass, always on the move, interacts with the people who work for him, musicians who are preparing his work, interviewers who try to schedule some of his time, directors who need their soundtracks. Reich is a musician's musician; the bulk of the time is spent on his own chronological narration of his life and work and performances of various works including Clapping Music, Tehillim, and Different Trains. Occasionally the music accompanies dancers (for instance, a fabulous choreography by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker to Piano Phase). More often - unfortunately - the director furnishes dumb visual accompaniments to some of Reich's music: crowds crossing the street to Music for 18 Musicians, a strange montage with projected words (and also the musical letters) for the last movement of Trains.
Most exciting for me is the opportunity to see and hear an extract from The Cave - Reich's wife, Beryl Korot, creates a powerful visual counterpart to the compelling music, and it's quite difficult to get a sense of the piece without the visual element. Having followed Reich's career for a long time now, I wasn't surprised by anything I heard, but I imagine that many people will learn a great deal from the documentary;...
The Talks in Tokyo bonus is interesting. Reich doesn't involve himself in lectures. When he gives talks he plays a recording of a piece not performed in the concert that the audience has heard, and then answers questions. In this case, he played You Are (Variations), a 2004 work. The questions and answers are indeed interesting and worth listening to.
Run Time: 80 min.
Picture Format: NTSC, 16:9, Color
Sound Format(s): LPCM Stereo,
Subtitles: English, German, French, Japanese
Submitted on 02/26/11 by mwilcox15
Works DetailsReich, Steve : Work(s)
- Period Time: Contemporary