Steve Reich’s New York Counterpoint

Last week I had the opportunity to perform Steve Reich’s New York Counterpoint on an all-Reich program at On the Boards in Seattle, WA. The Reich has been a pet piece of mine for a while, having recorded all the backing tracks in 2007 and performed it at a variety of venues since – doctoral recital, bar, new music festival, house party in the mountains of Colorado… it’s a versatile piece!

video produced by Second Inversion at the KING-FM studios

It was fascinating to hear a whole program dedicated to Reich, arguably this country’s greatest living composer. Typically at concerts of new music, you won’t hear more than one truly minimalist work on the program. Often Reich’s works are juxtaposed with those of his contemporaries who represent New Complexity, spectralism or Neoromantic traditions. But listening to four Reich works in a row allowed the audience to experience the astonishing variety that can be found within Reich’s oeuvre, highlighting differences between even works in the same series, like New York Counterpoint and Cello Counterpoint. It led me to muse that the best way to experience minimalist works is not in small doses on a varied program, but isolated, distilled.

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