Review: Colin Currie Players - Steve Reich Concert @ SDH
Steve Reich Concert
Colin Currie Players
Friday 1st May 2015
This was another exciting opportunity to hear the music of Steve Reich, along with lots of extra events framing the concert. This group of percussionists have to be seen to be believed in their relentless talent and musicianship.
Prior to the main concert was Adrian Hull with his history of Reich's music and a potted tour of minimalism. The great discovery of this talk was Gavin Bryers and his Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet. Utilising unused audio taken from a recent documentary on homeless people in London in the early '70's, Bryers had great inspiration. With an old, homeless man's rendition (he is said to have died the week after being recorded) of the hymn, he gently wove instruments and a choir (in another version, singer, Tom Waits features) to create a moving and haunting work of sound/music.
Hull also proved how easy it today to create what Reich was doing with sound loops back in the late '60's (asking the small audience to shout out "Saint David's Hall!" to use as a recorded example). Always stimulating and fascinating speeches on the mosaic we are soon to hear.
The main event was glorious. However, I found the Players' last visit with Drumming even more mesmerising. It's very easy to recognise Reich's music: pulsating rhythms, unstoppable playing and a joyous vitality unlike composers' work. His Clapping Music is somewhat underwhelming, but I get its point. Two players did this piece and it's easy to mess it up.
Then, the players arrived, and for the rest of the concert, there was grander music - it was ever so funky and jazz-like in its directness. Sextet, Mallet Quartet and the Quartet are all good works by Reich, but his master works are Music for 18 Musicians and The Desert Music.
I wasn't able to hear the gorgeous Tobias Tripp play his violin, nor hear much of the Cathedral School Percussion. Luckily, the after-concert...concert was In C by Terry Riley. This is another super work: crisp, pleasing and ever so happy with itself. It made for a nice end to the evening.
Rating: 4 Stars [out of 5]
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