Discussion:
Any thoughts about Steve Reich?
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Mandryka
2021-03-14 11:55:18 UTC
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I've always enjoyed the early tape stuff, but recently I've found myself getting into the Daniel Variations and some parts of the late quartet for two pianos and two vibes -- the latter has passages which are as complex as James Tenney! WTC 9/11 too.

A lot of the other music hasn't caught my imagination, because it seems predictable, unsurprising, familiar. But I may be listening wrong!
raymond....@gmail.com
2021-03-14 14:40:22 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
I've always enjoyed the early tape stuff, but recently I've found myself getting into the Daniel Variations and some parts of the late quartet for two pianos and two vibes -- the latter has passages which are as complex as James Tenney! WTC 9/11 too.
A lot of the other music hasn't caught my imagination, because it seems predictable, unsurprising, familiar. But I may be listening wrong!
Nearly all of Reich's well known music is covered in the excellent 5 CD Nonesuch "Phases" package.

I enjoy these pieces (Drumming, 18 Musicians, Different Trains, Desert Music, etc.,) from time to time, but always had the impression that Reich had sort of reached a point with these pieces, from which it seemed as if he had little more to say. I could be wrong though.

Ray Hall, Taree
gggg gggg
2021-03-14 14:55:54 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
I've always enjoyed the early tape stuff, but recently I've found myself getting into the Daniel Variations and some parts of the late quartet for two pianos and two vibes -- the latter has passages which are as complex as James Tenney! WTC 9/11 too.
A lot of the other music hasn't caught my imagination, because it seems predictable, unsurprising, familiar. But I may be listening wrong!
Nearly all of Reich's well known music is covered in the excellent 5 CD Nonesuch "Phases" package.
I enjoy these pieces (Drumming, 18 Musicians, Different Trains, Desert Music, etc.,) from time to time, but always had the impression that Reich had sort of reached a point with these pieces, from which it seemed as if he had little more to say. I could be wrong though.
Ray Hall, Taree
Is there such a thing as exhausting creativity?
number_six
2021-03-14 18:58:33 UTC
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Post by ***@gmail.com
Post by Mandryka
I've always enjoyed the early tape stuff, but recently I've found myself getting into the Daniel Variations and some parts of the late quartet for two pianos and two vibes -- the latter has passages which are as complex as James Tenney! WTC 9/11 too.
A lot of the other music hasn't caught my imagination, because it seems predictable, unsurprising, familiar. But I may be listening wrong!
Nearly all of Reich's well known music is covered in the excellent 5 CD Nonesuch "Phases" package.
I enjoy these pieces (Drumming, 18 Musicians, Different Trains, Desert Music, etc.,) from time to time, but always had the impression that Reich had sort of reached a point with these pieces, from which it seemed as if he had little more to say. I could be wrong though.
Ray Hall, Taree
Is there such a thing as exhausting creativity?
Of course -- Joseph Heller shot his wad with Catch-22.

One masterpiece is one more than most artists create.
Mandryka
2021-03-14 21:02:21 UTC
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Post by gggg gggg
Post by ***@gmail.com
Post by Mandryka
I've always enjoyed the early tape stuff, but recently I've found myself getting into the Daniel Variations and some parts of the late quartet for two pianos and two vibes -- the latter has passages which are as complex as James Tenney! WTC 9/11 too.
A lot of the other music hasn't caught my imagination, because it seems predictable, unsurprising, familiar. But I may be listening wrong!
Nearly all of Reich's well known music is covered in the excellent 5 CD Nonesuch "Phases" package.
I enjoy these pieces (Drumming, 18 Musicians, Different Trains, Desert Music, etc.,) from time to time, but always had the impression that Reich had sort of reached a point with these pieces, from which it seemed as if he had little more to say. I could be wrong though.
Ray Hall, Taree
Is there such a thing as exhausting creativity?
Of course -- Joseph Heller shot his wad with Catch-22.
One masterpiece is one more than most artists create.
What do you Reichians think of The Cave?
number_six
2021-03-15 19:30:47 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
Post by number_six
Post by gggg gggg
Post by ***@gmail.com
Post by Mandryka
I've always enjoyed the early tape stuff, but recently I've found myself getting into the Daniel Variations and some parts of the late quartet for two pianos and two vibes -- the latter has passages which are as complex as James Tenney! WTC 9/11 too.
A lot of the other music hasn't caught my imagination, because it seems predictable, unsurprising, familiar. But I may be listening wrong!
Nearly all of Reich's well known music is covered in the excellent 5 CD Nonesuch "Phases" package.
I enjoy these pieces (Drumming, 18 Musicians, Different Trains, Desert Music, etc.,) from time to time, but always had the impression that Reich had sort of reached a point with these pieces, from which it seemed as if he had little more to say. I could be wrong though.
Ray Hall, Taree
Is there such a thing as exhausting creativity?
Of course -- Joseph Heller shot his wad with Catch-22.
One masterpiece is one more than most artists create.
What do you Reichians think of The Cave?
I have heard The Cave, but do not retain any strong impression of it.

That in itself tells me something, as my memory of several other Reich works is vivid and detailed.

But I should hear it again before commenting further.
number_six
2021-04-02 01:40:24 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
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Post by gggg gggg
Post by ***@gmail.com
Post by Mandryka
I've always enjoyed the early tape stuff, but recently I've found myself getting into the Daniel Variations and some parts of the late quartet for two pianos and two vibes -- the latter has passages which are as complex as James Tenney! WTC 9/11 too.
A lot of the other music hasn't caught my imagination, because it seems predictable, unsurprising, familiar. But I may be listening wrong!
Nearly all of Reich's well known music is covered in the excellent 5 CD Nonesuch "Phases" package.
I enjoy these pieces (Drumming, 18 Musicians, Different Trains, Desert Music, etc.,) from time to time, but always had the impression that Reich had sort of reached a point with these pieces, from which it seemed as if he had little more to say. I could be wrong though.
Ray Hall, Taree
Is there such a thing as exhausting creativity?
Of course -- Joseph Heller shot his wad with Catch-22.
One masterpiece is one more than most artists create.
What do you Reichians think of The Cave?
I have heard The Cave, but do not retain any strong impression of it.
That in itself tells me something, as my memory of several other Reich works is vivid and detailed.
But I should hear it again before commenting further.
Listened again to The Cave.

After first 10 min or so, was not engaged yet, feeling the music didn't offer anything he hadn't done better somewhere else.

But as the work went along, the treatment of the text material -- exploring perceptions of the three Abrahamic faiths -- became more compelling. So yes, if you like Tehillim or Different Trains, the Cave is worth hearing.
Mandryka
2021-03-14 15:09:50 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
I've always enjoyed the early tape stuff, but recently I've found myself getting into the Daniel Variations and some parts of the late quartet for two pianos and two vibes -- the latter has passages which are as complex as James Tenney! WTC 9/11 too.
A lot of the other music hasn't caught my imagination, because it seems predictable, unsurprising, familiar. But I may be listening wrong!
Nearly all of Reich's well known music is covered in the excellent 5 CD Nonesuch "Phases" package.
I enjoy these pieces (Drumming, 18 Musicians, Different Trains, Desert Music, etc.,) from time to time, but always had the impression that Reich had sort of reached a point with these pieces, from which it seemed as if he had little more to say. I could be wrong though.
Ray Hall, Taree
For me the interesting music is either much earlier or much later. The dark triple quartet for example, from the mid 1990s.


number_six
2021-03-14 18:50:04 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
I've always enjoyed the early tape stuff, but recently I've found myself getting into the Daniel Variations and some parts of the late quartet for two pianos and two vibes -- the latter has passages which are as complex as James Tenney! WTC 9/11 too.
A lot of the other music hasn't caught my imagination, because it seems predictable, unsurprising, familiar. But I may be listening wrong!
Nearly all of Reich's well known music is covered in the excellent 5 CD Nonesuch "Phases" package.
I enjoy these pieces (Drumming, 18 Musicians, Different Trains, Desert Music, etc.,) from time to time, but always had the impression that Reich had sort of reached a point with these pieces, from which it seemed as if he had little more to say. I could be wrong though.
Ray Hall, Taree
Music for 18 Musicians is among my favorites; Violin Phase and Tehillim also rank among his early to mid-career triumphs.

I haven't heard all of his output the last 20 years but don't think he has matched the impact of those earlier works.
Todd Michel McComb
2021-03-14 21:09:25 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
I've always enjoyed the early tape stuff, but recently I've found
myself getting into the Daniel Variations and some parts of the
late quartet for two pianos and two vibes -- the latter has passages
which are as complex as James Tenney! WTC 9/11 too.
I'll have to check that out. It's been a while....

I have mostly vague memories of Reich, and never really got into
his music, which always seemed mechanical to me. (As I mention in
my Tenney essay, I also got a sort of "engineering" vibe off him,
which kept me from more listening, but I've come to enjoy some of
his late music quite a bit....) Anyway, Reich was quite in vogue
for a while, at least in New York (where I lived for several years
around 1990).

Actually, there is a simple piece by Reich that someone did for a
few years in a row at one of our diversity trainings... I'm spacing
on the name. Maybe just "Clapping Music" or the like. Had the
participants perform it incrementally....

Glass is another composer who was usually grouped with Reich then,
and I haven't followed his music either. (The music department
chair when I was in grad school used to say I'd be "the next Philip
Glass," which always made me bristle, but he insisted it was a
compliment....)

I suppose I'd be more appreciative of any of them now, their times
having been contextualized by this point....
Mandryka
2021-03-14 21:14:17 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
I've always enjoyed the early tape stuff, but recently I've found
myself getting into the Daniel Variations and some parts of the
late quartet for two pianos and two vibes -- the latter has passages
which are as complex as James Tenney! WTC 9/11 too.
I'll have to check that out. It's been a while....
I have mostly vague memories of Reich, and never really got into
his music, which always seemed mechanical to me. (As I mention in
my Tenney essay, I also got a sort of "engineering" vibe off him,
which kept me from more listening, but I've come to enjoy some of
his late music quite a bit....) Anyway, Reich was quite in vogue
for a while, at least in New York (where I lived for several years
around 1990).
Actually, there is a simple piece by Reich that someone did for a
few years in a row at one of our diversity trainings... I'm spacing
on the name. Maybe just "Clapping Music" or the like. Had the
participants perform it incrementally....
Glass is another composer who was usually grouped with Reich then,
and I haven't followed his music either. (The music department
chair when I was in grad school used to say I'd be "the next Philip
Glass," which always made me bristle, but he insisted it was a
compliment....)
I suppose I'd be more appreciative of any of them now, their times
having been contextualized by this point....
Well I may have been exaggerating the link to Tenney!

By the way a few weeks ago I found an amazing thing by Glass - his first string quartet.
Mandryka
2021-03-14 21:15:56 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
Post by Mandryka
I've always enjoyed the early tape stuff, but recently I've found
myself getting into the Daniel Variations and some parts of the
late quartet for two pianos and two vibes -- the latter has passages
which are as complex as James Tenney! WTC 9/11 too.
I'll have to check that out. It's been a while....
I have mostly vague memories of Reich, and never really got into
his music, which always seemed mechanical to me. (As I mention in
my Tenney essay, I also got a sort of "engineering" vibe off him,
which kept me from more listening, but I've come to enjoy some of
his late music quite a bit....) Anyway, Reich was quite in vogue
for a while, at least in New York (where I lived for several years
around 1990).
Actually, there is a simple piece by Reich that someone did for a
few years in a row at one of our diversity trainings... I'm spacing
on the name. Maybe just "Clapping Music" or the like. Had the
participants perform it incrementally....
Glass is another composer who was usually grouped with Reich then,
and I haven't followed his music either. (The music department
chair when I was in grad school used to say I'd be "the next Philip
Glass," which always made me bristle, but he insisted it was a
compliment....)
I suppose I'd be more appreciative of any of them now, their times
having been contextualized by this point....
Well I may have been exaggerating the link to Tenney!
By the way a few weeks ago I found an amazing thing by Glass - his first string quartet.
But if you do check it out it was the second movement of the Glass Piano and Vibes quartet which made me think of Tenney - the movement called “slow”
Todd Michel McComb
2021-03-14 21:54:58 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
By the way a few weeks ago I found an amazing thing by Glass - his first string quartet.
Now that you say it, I have this nagging feeling that I heard this
(in some random, late night impulse) and can't recall the details....

But listening to "Pulse" -- the "response" piece opening the Reich
album w/ Quartet -- makes me think of new string quartets by John
Luther Adams, something I also randomly listened to a while back
when someone else was mentioning them.... It's all pleasant music...
I dunno, maybe I'd be more cheerful myself with this stuff around.

I feel like "Quartet" would make a good piece for a sort of
pastoral/nostalgia-themed Disney rollercoaster....

Followed it with Tenney's _Spectrum Piece 1_ -- sounds like the
Second Viennese School showed up.... :-)
Mandryka
2021-03-15 08:49:05 UTC
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Post by Todd Michel McComb
Post by Mandryka
By the way a few weeks ago I found an amazing thing by Glass - his first string quartet.
Now that you say it, I have this nagging feeling that I heard this
(in some random, late night impulse) and can't recall the details....
But listening to "Pulse" -- the "response" piece opening the Reich
album w/ Quartet -- makes me think of new string quartets by John
Luther Adams, something I also randomly listened to a while back
when someone else was mentioning them.... It's all pleasant music...
I dunno, maybe I'd be more cheerful myself with this stuff around.
I feel like "Quartet" would make a good piece for a sort of
pastoral/nostalgia-themed Disney rollercoaster....
Followed it with Tenney's _Spectrum Piece 1_ -- sounds like the
Second Viennese School showed up.... :-)
Yes well Tenney does dissonant counterpoint like no one else.


What do you make now of those harp studies? I don’t like to just dismiss them as samey and boring, but there are a lot of them! Is there a structure - four sets of 16, or something like that?
Todd Michel McComb
2021-03-15 16:35:56 UTC
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What do you make now of those harp studies? I don't like to just
dismiss them as samey and boring, but there are a lot of them! Is
there a structure - four sets of 16, or something like that?
I might have/probably heard some music by Tenney long ago, but don't
really remember. The release of the _Changes_ double album was
what started my more recent interest, though, as it got some hype
in a few places, so I had a listen... like 3 or 4 auditions over
the course of a couple of years. I'm often busy with music, so it
took a while to decide I wanted to hear more....

The liner notes are/were available at the New World website, and
they're a pretty good technical discussion. They draw out some
different aspects that vary between the different studies, but I
don't think they really group for listening in any particular way....

As far as the music, it's true I don't really think of it as a
finished product. It's pretty mellow, really, with all those weird
melodic patterns within the 1/6th tone context. It's the same 1/6th
tone system Cage used, and I've heard more people using it. Meaning
that _Changes_ was an early mapping of a world that's still being
developed....

Now, for instance, saxophonist Ivo Perelman wanted me to review his
album _Dust of Light / Ears Drawing Sounds_ last year with guitarist
Pascal Marzan (reviewed in November). Marzan has rigged his guitar
this way, in 1/6th tones, and then Perelman improvises. I suggested
that he (and/or others) might want to try improvising along to
Changes, although as noted, it won't adapt to him as a live performer
would.... Judging by some clicks there, I suspect more people are
trying it.

So I would call it a "preliminary" set of music in some sense, but
I don't think its value has been nearly exhausted. (And making the
recording was quite a project.)
Mandryka
2021-03-15 19:23:19 UTC
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Post by Todd Michel McComb
What do you make now of those harp studies? I don't like to just
dismiss them as samey and boring, but there are a lot of them! Is
there a structure - four sets of 16, or something like that?
I might have/probably heard some music by Tenney long ago, but don't
really remember. The release of the _Changes_ double album was
what started my more recent interest, though, as it got some hype
in a few places, so I had a listen... like 3 or 4 auditions over
the course of a couple of years. I'm often busy with music, so it
took a while to decide I wanted to hear more....
The liner notes are/were available at the New World website, and
they're a pretty good technical discussion. They draw out some
different aspects that vary between the different studies, but I
don't think they really group for listening in any particular way....
As far as the music, it's true I don't really think of it as a
finished product. It's pretty mellow, really, with all those weird
melodic patterns within the 1/6th tone context. It's the same 1/6th
tone system Cage used, and I've heard more people using it. Meaning
that _Changes_ was an early mapping of a world that's still being
developed....
Now, for instance, saxophonist Ivo Perelman wanted me to review his
album _Dust of Light / Ears Drawing Sounds_ last year with guitarist
Pascal Marzan (reviewed in November). Marzan has rigged his guitar
this way, in 1/6th tones, and then Perelman improvises. I suggested
that he (and/or others) might want to try improvising along to
Changes, although as noted, it won't adapt to him as a live performer
would.... Judging by some clicks there, I suspect more people are
trying it.
So I would call it a "preliminary" set of music in some sense, but
I don't think its value has been nearly exhausted. (And making the
recording was quite a project.)
What a postmodernist idea! Fragments of James Tenney used in free improvisation. I hope John Zorn is reading this.
Todd Michel McComb
2021-03-15 20:08:08 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
What a postmodernist idea! Fragments of James Tenney used in free
improvisation. I hope John Zorn is reading this.
Not a piece about different tunings, but also recently on New World
Records, I reviewed Scott Fields' _Seven Deserts_ in June 2020:
Improvisation is important, but it's also a lush & rhythmically
contoured series. Impressionist (& serial). Fields' previous
albums involved material from Samuel Beckett.
Mandryka
2021-03-15 20:34:36 UTC
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Post by Todd Michel McComb
Post by Mandryka
What a postmodernist idea! Fragments of James Tenney used in free
improvisation. I hope John Zorn is reading this.
Not a piece about different tunings, but also recently on New World
Improvisation is important, but it's also a lush & rhythmically
contoured series. Impressionist (& serial). Fields' previous
albums involved material from Samuel Beckett.
Listening to Seven Deserts now while reading your review. Very good. Oooo -- Desert 2 has just gone inspired and spontaneous, serious polyphony.

Are big sequences a thing with American composers -- this morning I was listening to Larry Polansky's Eight Fermentations!
Todd Michel McComb
2021-03-15 20:36:31 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
Are big sequences a thing with American composers -- this morning
I was listening to Larry Polansky's Eight Fermentations!
Some of that may trace to Cecil Taylor....
Todd Michel McComb
2021-03-15 20:40:35 UTC
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Post by Todd Michel McComb
Post by Mandryka
Are big sequences a thing with American composers -- this morning
I was listening to Larry Polansky's Eight Fermentations!
Some of that may trace to Cecil Taylor....
Er, I spaced out with that comment... musical sequences.

But X Pieces... I guess that's a Second Viennese thing?
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