Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians (1974-76) is often hailed as one his best pieces of music. Lasting over an hour, themes are built up in repetition, incorporating subtle changes along the way. It slowly and gradually evolves into a work filled with wonderfully intricate, yet simple rhythms that make the whole work a dynamic and exciting experience. A variety of instruments are used - notably clarinets and bass clarinets, metallophone, marimbas and voices. With these sounds Reich constructs beautiful sweeping chords that carry the listener effortlessly from beginning to end.
"On Sonic Encounters: The New Piano (Mode Records) - the current Pytheas Featured Recording - Margaret Leng Tan plays works for prepared piano by John Cage (the father of the prepared piano), Alan Hovhaness, George Crumb, Somei Satoh, & Ge Gan-Ru. The prepared piano was created by John Cage in the 1940's to save space and the cost of hiring multiple percussion musicians, while at the same time creating new sounds using items inserted into the piano or re-tuning the piano. In the later 20th century, some composers took up the practice to create certain tonalities or soundscapes that only the prepared piano could provide. On Sonic Encounters Alan Hovhaness and George Crumb are west meeting east; Somei Satoh and Ge Gan-Ru are east meeting west - all creating a multi-cultural modern classical expression not to be missed”. - John Dooley
Again, our COMPOSER PORTRAIT this week features George Crumb as he visits his home state of West Virginia for an interview with West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

FROM THE PYTHEAS ARCHIVES brings us back to an intense performance by Jerome Ducharme, 2004 Guitar Foundation of America winner, of the Finale from Jacques Hétu’s Suite for Guitar, op. 41 (1986).

Explore, Listen and Enjoy!

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