KPFA-FM Music Dept. ➔ Ode To Gravity: The Music of Steve Reich, 1980, 1 of 2

Analog Audio

Event Type
Interview and Music
Program Series
Ode To Gravity
Program Length
111 min
1 of 2
1980-05-12 | broadcast
| 1980-05-12 | created
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.
New music
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)
Netherlands Wind Ensemble (Large Ensemble, Holland]
Steve Reich and Musicians (Large Ensemble, NY]
Paul Zukofsky, violin (Violin, 1969)
Shem Guibbory, violin (Violin, 1980)
New music
Minimal music
Vocal quartets with instrumental ensemble
Vocal duets with instrumental ensemble
Violin music
Electronic and violin music
String quartets (Violins (4))
Funding for the preservation of this program made possible through a grant by Save America’s Treasures, a program of the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.