The eternally youthful, endlessly listenable Steve Reich turns three-quarters of a century young on Monday and Hammered! is joining the group hug. Tune in 11 am and 11 pm all week for a celebration of Reich's keyboard and ensemble music with special introductions by the birthday boy himself.
Monday offers the only four pieces Reich wrote exclusively for keyboard(s). Well, kind of. One piece, which opens the show, was actually written for five pieces of wood (claves), but the French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard arranged it for a five-tracked pianist playing one piano, which I suppose is technically still a piece of wood. The rest of the show, however, is all original Reich: Piano Phase (introduced by Reich), Four Organs and Six Pianos.
Opening the remaining shows this week are small ensemble works that feature the piano, which all rank among Reich's most brilliant compositions. Tune in for Sextet, Double Sextet (his Pulitzer-prize winning score for Eighth Blackbird) and, a personal favorite, Eight Lines. Capping off the week is a rerun performance of Reich seminal keyboard work Piano Phase.
The clarity of Reich's musical process and honesty of its execution has impacted countless composers of myriad styles. Duh. We'll explore some of these "process" works in the remaining hours this week and include some composers you may not immediately expect (what's up Karlheinz Stockhausen, Gyorgy Ligeti and Elliott Carter?) in addition to some household names like Timo Andres, John Adams and Evan Ziporyn.
So, with that, happy birthday Steve! Sign the birthday card in the comments below ...