giovedì 6 settembre 2012

Review of Double Sextet / 2x5 by Steve Reich, Nonesuch 2010

Italian Translation

We are in 2010 and the 74 year-old age Steve Reich doesn't really want to stop composing new music. Always to the search of new roads, of new possibilities in which to evolve his own personal musical "process"  this time he crosses the roads of eighth blackbird and of Bang on A Can.
This "Double Sextet/2x5"  cd  contains the winning composition of the Pulitzer Price 2009, in which a sextet composed by flute, clarinet, violin, cello, vibraphone and piano is faced with an identical recorded version on tape, a thematic dear to Reich and well developed already with the series "Counterpoint", "Violin Phase", "Different trains" and "Triple Quartet", while "2x5" of 2008 is composed and played by the Bang on A Can, using  electric guitars and basses, drums and piano and I hope that could represent the beginning of a new possible stylistic evolution for Reich..
In the interview to Tom Cole of the NPR for the Pulitzer Premium, Reich has declared: "I'm very glad that this particular piece got it, because The I give think it's one of the better pieces I've done in the past few years." ". "The piece can be played in two ways," Reich says "Either with 12 musicians or with six playing against a recording of themselves." "It's the idea of writing basically unison canons” … "The same timbre playing against itself, so that when they intertwine, you don't hear the individual voice; you hear the composite. Now, if you have several composites going on at the same time, you really get to an interesting situation, and that's what's going on in Double Sextet."
Ironically Reich underlines as finally, thanks to a new generation of musicians, his passages have been played without any troubles: “Thankfully, a lot of young musicians have not only played all kinds of my pieces, but have played them well," … "It's because they heard them when they were younger. This is the case in all music history. Composers have a real difficulty in that first generation when they are writing these works. But the following generations grow up with it as part of the furniture in the room. So eighth blackbird, and many other groups I'm happy to say, can not only play it, but play it convincingly and enjoy themselves."
The same things can be said about Bang on a Can, an important ensemble specialized in the reinterpretations of passages “minimalistc” style or of other genres untill now neglected by the "high cultured" music  as the ambient pieces by Brian Eno and the music of Meredith Monk, Don Byron and Thurston Moore. "2x5" it is a piece that directly draws to the structures of rock music where however the rhythmic part is given by the bass of Robert Black and by the piano of Evan Ziporyn and the drums sporadically intervenes adding "extra energy and new color" as Reich writes in the notes of the record. The guitar of Mark Steward plays an octave highter than it would be able (he uses an octave transposer) and it adds a gamelan sound to everything, tying the different parts among them.
We are in 2012, Reich is 76 years old …. Hat off!

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