Steve reich - tehillim / three movements

Many long-time watchers along the Reich were somewhat nonplussed by Tehillim (Hebrew for "psalms"). Instead of regular rhythmic patterns slowly varied over a stretch of time, the patterns themselves were complexly asymmetrical. Reich, of course, had seldom repeated himself from piece to piece, so they should have expected this. Reich himself explains the change as a matter of dealing with the rhythms of text for the first time. Almost every composer who has set words finds himself coming up with phrasing and declamation different than for purely instrumental music. For example, when Holst writes "advanced rhythms" for orchestra, they are generally odd meters but arranged in a regular pattern ("Mars" from The Planets , for instance). On the other hand, I know of no Holst instrumental work with the rhythmic oddities of his song "Persephone" (from Twelve Humbert Wolfe Songs ). These tics in the line come about solely from the rhythms of the poem. Again, Reich works with the idea of "phase," this time by writing canons ("organic phase," if you will) with more and more voices and closer and closer entrances - so close, in fact, that the words eventually become obliterated, and we get instead increasingly complex and joyous polyrhythms - rhythms formed by competing different constituent rhythms. Indeed, this tends to be Reich's notion of counterpoint, and it definitely comes from a drummer. I imagine that his music would appeal strongly to other drummers as well.

Steve Reich - Tehillim / Three MovementsSteve Reich - Tehillim / Three MovementsSteve Reich - Tehillim / Three MovementsSteve Reich - Tehillim / Three Movements