Exploring roots of minimalism, 50 years on

Posted on: January 13, 2015

“Despite the terrible moniker, and the scorn of modernists and traditionalists alike, minimalism is triumphant,” writes Ivan Hewett in Wednesday’s (1/7) Telegraph (London). “You can hear the echo of its pounding beats, static harmonies and slowly shifting patterns everywhere in the wider world of music, from TV commercials to film scores to pop music. In the concert hall and in modern dance and the opera house minimalism’s impress can be felt across three generations of composers.” The series Minimalism Unwrapped, taking place throughout 2015 at the London performance space Kings Place, “allows us to revisit those heroic early days of minimalism, when it was a hard, uncompromising idea in the heads of a few stubborn and marginalized New Yorkers. Many key early works of these first-generation minimalists, above all Terry Riley, Philip Glass and Steve Reich, will be played,” along with David Lang, Michael Nyman, Louis Andriessen. “These things are placed in some surprising musical company: Erik Satie, J. S. Bach, medieval composers including Perotin, and Renaissance composers such as Christopher Tye and John Taverner…. The message of the series is that far from being freakish and perverse, [minimalism] is the heir to a long tradition of thinking of music in terms of slowly shifting patterns, made out of simple things.”

Posted January 13, 2015