New music by Steve Reich

  1. Runner
  2. Music for Ensemble and Orchestra
  3. Reich/Richter (Commission)
  1. Olari Elts conductor

New works by Steve Reich, a pioneer in music through half a century.

Steve Reich (b. 1936) has been a leading figure on the global music scene throughout the the second half of the 20th century and the first decades of the 2000’s. In the 1960’s he was one of the pioneers of musical minimalism − a style which challenged established expressions and compositional techniques. This music is characterised by repetitive patterns, a pulsating expression and has a meditative, almost hypnotic character. In his new cross-genre work Reich/Richter, he examines the connections between his own music and the paintings of Gerhard Richter.

Estonian Olari Elts also conducts two other new Reich works: Runner for big ensemble, and Music for Ensemble and Orchestra − Reich’s first orchestra work in thirty years, with no less than twenty orchestra soloists. Although the works are new, they are composed in Reich’s unmistakeable, mesmerising style.

Steve Reich’s (b. 1936) Reich/Richter is a work which transcends definitions of genre, and has been created in collaboration with Richter and the filmmaker Corinna Belz, examining the meeting points between Richter’s method in his “Patterns” - series, where he divides, mirrors and repeats one and the same painting, and Reich’s strict, repetitive musical structures. Put together, Reich’s new work and Richter’s paintings become a unified work with a common structure between painting and music. The first performance of Reich/Richter was in New York in April 2019, presented by “The Shed”, a new cultural initiative which promotes cross-genre collaboration between artists. The work was commissioned by The Shed in New York, Los Angeles Philharmonic, CAL Performances, Britten Sinfonia, Barbican London, Philharmonie de Paris and the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra.

Music for Ensemble and Orchestra is an extension of the Baroque form Concerto Grosso − the form where there is more than one soloist. Here, there are twenty soloists: permanent members of the orchestra, including string section leaders and woodwind leaders, as well as two vibraphones and two pianos. The piece is in five movements, and the tempo never changes — only the note value in the constant pulse of the pianos. This creates a bow shape: sixteenths, eighths, a clock pattern from Ghana, eighths and sixteenths” (Steve Reich on Music for Ensemble and Orchestra).

Reich has earlier expressed his admiration for Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos. Music for Ensemble and Orchestra shares the same fundamental idea and intention with Bach’s work, although the musical language is completely different. Music for Ensemble and Orchestra was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Sydney Symphony and Baltic Sea Philharmonic. The work had its world premiere in Los Angeles in 2018 with Susanne Mälkki conducting.

Runner, for large ensemble of winds, percussion, piano and strings has much of the same division of form as Music for Ensemble and Orchestra, with its five movements in bow shape and changing note values in the constant pulse. Reich says, “I got the idea for the title from the fast-paced opening and from the knowledge that I, like a runner, had to set the tempo in the piece to succeed”. The piece was commissioned by the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Ensemble Signal, CAL Performances, Washington Perfroming Arts and Ensemble Modern. Runner was first performed in London in 2016.

(Text: Thomas Erma Møller; Translation  from Norwegian: Sarah Osa)

Tickets

  • Adult: 120 - 490 NOK
  • Senior: 120 - 395 NOK
  • Student: 120 - 245 NOK
  • Child: 120 NOK
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