Anyone who has studied, performed or just enjoyed music owes some degree of gratitude to Steve Reich. He is, without question, one of the most widely admired, respected and influential voices in modern music since the 1960s.
His view was revolutionary, but was grounded. He came along at a time when Music, if not Art, writing and the World in general were undergoing huge changes. Changes in perception and thought and point-of-view; of listening to something and finding deep meaning within the framework of deceptive simplicity. Of hearing something for the first time and feeling an instant kinship to it.
Listening to this interview, conducted by the late Critic and broadcaster Alan Rich and recorded in February 1983 for a program we were working on at the time; Music Under Fire, I realized that Reich was fourteen when he first came into contact with Stravinsky‘s Rite Of Spring and John Coltrane; two life-changing events for him. I was fourteen and came into contact with Steve Reich for the first time, by way of his two early pieces, It’s Gonna Rain and Come Out – and those were life-changing events for me. I just remember, after listening to both pieces, feeling that I was just not destined to hear the same music the same way ever again. And I didn’t. Like so much of what went on in Music and the Arts in the 1960s, figures like Steve Reich came along and freed things up – took what you thought you knew and exploded it, turning it into something with entirely new meaning.
Reich continues to make his mark on Contemporary music and influence countless others in the process.
If you’ve never heard of Steve Reich before, it’s absolutely essential you become familiar with his work. He is the reason I arrive at the unfamiliar with an open mind. I’m sure he’s done the same thing for many others. This interview gives you some background as to who he is – this is a jumping off spot to dive into his work.
I would suggest head first.