“Steve’s music has the same effect for me as standing on a mountain and slowly surveying the landscape: there’s a deep truth in how everything fits together and a resultant calm and inner joy.”
Malachy Robinson. Crash Ensemble.
On Sunday July 31st here in Cork Opera House Crash Ensemble, Ireland’s foremost contemporary music ensemble will perform a magnificent programme with Iarla O Lionard and Gavin Friday. Here’s a taster of what you can look forward to:
”..Whether he knows it or not, he’s kind of a rock n’ roller” An appraisal of Steve Reich by Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth. Moore interviewed Steve Reich at the South by Southwest Music Festival in 2008. Here’s the video in two parts on the Pitchfork.com site.
“I first heard Music for 18 Musicians in the 1970’s. And then there was Drumming and Clapping Music. Steve was coming to San Francisco and I remember he and I corresponded a little bit and eventually, we had a meeting and he said, “I really don’t write string quartet music. It’s just not the kind of thing I do. But you know, you could play for Vermont Counterpoint.” So he sent me a score of Vermont Counterpoint and one thing I don’t do is play flute music so that just didn’t work. But I had an idea and so Kronos was playing a show here in San Francisco and I thought, “Why don’t we open the concert with Clapping Music?” And so that’s what we did. We opened with Clapping Music but what I didn’t know would happen is that if you clap that long and you’re not used to it, your hands are going to swell up. My hands got all swollen up and the next piece on the concert was by Shostakovich and you can’t play with swollen hands, at least not the way you’d like to play. So, after the show, I wrote to Steve and I told him we had just played his first string quartet, Clapping Music.
By this point Steve had accepted a commission from Betty Freeman to write for Kronos and eventually, that piece became Different Trains. There are few pieces that I know of in the history of the string quartet repertoire that have changed the approach to what a concert can be as much as Different Trains did. Here’s some of the ways it changed Kronos’ concerts. We realized very quickly that in order to really play the piece the way we needed to, we were going to have to have our own sound engineer. And so what happened is, they created an entirely new kind of circumstance for our tours. We needed to have five people on tour. And what that began to allow us to do was to work with the sound of our concerts. We could create reverb in places that were really very dry acoustically. We could begin to do other pieces that weren’t written for live quartet and backing tracks. We could bring all sorts of elements into the concert. So over the years, the influence of Different Trains on our concerts, it’s just grown actually. When I think back on the influence that piece has had on our music, it’s enormous and it’s interesting. It’s been played by many groups. I’ve even seen orchestras play Different Trains and it’s the same with Triple Quartet. And so eventually, you step back from that and see the influence of this music. It’s not only the music itself but what it requires to play it properly. It’s changed Kronos.”
- David Harrington, Artistic Director & First Violinist, Kronos Quartet