||Drumming: Part I||Steve Reich||17:30||Album Only||View in iTunes|
||Drumming: Part II||Steve Reich||18:10||Album Only||View in iTunes|
||Drumming: Part III||Steve Reich||11:12||Album Only||View in iTunes|
||Drumming: Part IV||Steve Reich||9:50||$0.99||View in iTunes|
Steve Reich is the master of minimalism, but his seminal composition Drumming, written at the start of the '70s, took his title to a new level. The piece is played exclusively on percussion (plus human voices); Reich wrote it after going to Ghana and soaking up some of the musical traditions there, as both the polyrhythms and organic qualities of the work attest. Drumming is divided into four sections. The first three are led by different instruments, each accumulating variations on a single rhythmic idea. Part I features four sets of bongos (played with sticks) at the forefront. The gradually evolving flurry of bongos gives way to the hypnotic patterns of three marimbas accented by wordless vocals in Part II. The gentlest section of Drumming, Part III, finds the patterns played on glockenspiels, for a somewhat celestial effect accented by a whistling piccolo (intruding on the percussion-only idea). After breaking down to a single beat by the start of Part IV, things build up to an orgiastic frenzy featuring all hands on deck banging out a dizzying din of patterns before stopping on a dime.
A fantastic journey of harmonic texture and color.
Hypnotic. One of NPR's 100 Greatest pieces of American Music.
Born: October 3, 1936 in New York, NY
Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s