I adore Steve Reich. Adore him. He is one of my top ten favorite composers, and has influenced my life enormously. This blog will feature some of his other work later on. There are, however, a fair number of people I know who don’t enjoy Steve Reich at all. (Hi, Mom. Oh hey there, third ex-boyfriend on the left.) It’s more than understandable. There isn’t a discernible melody, for starters, nor an easily explainable rhythm, which leads some to conclude that Reich’s music is pretty pointless. When I play this piece, however, some of them warm up to the idea. (Hi again, Mom. Smell you later, third ex-boyfriend on the left.) Though it keeps to the general Reich-ian aesthetic of repetitive minimalism, it’s also beautifully – and accessibly – lyrical. It sounds like Vaughan Williams’s lark when it was still young and went cruising with its best friend, before it grew up, went to Groton and Yale, got its medical degree, and became an elegant, staid, and entirely boring lark that ate a light dinner and retired early with some Tennyson poems. (Yes, yes, “Better not be at all than not be noble,” good for you.) This piece makes me feel like I just took in a lungful of fresh air on the first day of spring. Speaking of lungfuls of air, I am hoping to go for my first long training run today to prepare for the half-marathon I foolishly signed up for, and perhaps this piece will convince me it’s warmer than 20 degrees outside. Happy Saturday!
P.S. I took the photo in the video in Kiev, Ukraine. What a wacky place, Ukraine. More on that in a later post.
P.P.S. I am of course in no way maligning Groton or Yale. As they say, some of my best friends went to Groton and Yale.
2 thoughts on “Salubrious Saturday: Duet for Two Violins and Orchestra, Steve Reich”
I like Steve Reich! It’s contemporary restaurant jazz I don’t like, the pseudo-intellectual’s Musak; I wasn’t crazy about Dejan’s Olympia Brass Band but I’ll concede that it was zippier, and much more welcome, than drunkenly lugubrious versions of Auld Lang Syne.
Ahh yes. You’re right, that stuff blows. And may I compliment you on the phrase “drunkenly lugubrious.”