Steve Reich's pulse
The pulse in Steve Reich’s work is a prime example of how to set the ambience of a large city to music. For City Life, he walked the streets of New York, recording the sounds he heard. Conversations, cars honking and their alarms going off, a pile-driver, doors slamming, but also the beating of a heart. Played on samplers, this heartbeat forms the basis of Steve Reich’s love song to the city, in a concert centred on his work. He conjures up all the imperturbable sprawl and pandemonium of New York.
Pulse is also the basis for Double Sextet, actually written for an ensemble that plays against a recording of itself. The rhythms of the two sides intermingle into quick and slow dances. Tansy Davies wrote Canopies of Liquid Light to a commission by Asko|Schönberg for this concert; a musical descent into a subterranean space replete with groans, echoes and whispers. This is a place where the earth, which accommodates all living things, seems to be alive itself – one of the themes running through Davies’s music.
with students of Conservatorium van Amsterdam and Koninklijk Conservatorium