“This is not quite like anything [Reich] has done before.” —Wall Street Journal
Steve Reich’s latest work Reich/Richter premiered on April 6 as part of one of the biggest cultural events in New York City this spring: the opening of The Shed. Reich wrote the work for a new film by Gerhard Richter and Corinna Belz, based on Richter’s Patterns series.
Critical praise for the artistic partnership has been vast across international publications. Several critics were moved by the music’s melancholic nature, while others were impressed by its bright energy, matching Richter’s ever-changing, colorful visuals.
Next season, Reich/Richter will be performed at The Barbican with the Britten Sinfonia conducted by Colin Currie (Oct 23, 2019), at the Philharmonie de Paris with Ensemble intercontemporain conducted by Elim Chan (Mar 7, 2020), and with the LA Phil New Music Group conducted by Brad Lubman (Jun 6, 2020). Additional performances will be announced in the future.
New York Times
“A two-note motif builds to complex, rhythmically agile brightness, then gradually recedes back into blur as we watch Richter’s bands seem to rush by at light speed, fervently oscillating, at the finale.”
“The music has tender energy, and an undercurrent of melancholy. Its droning tones sometimes seem to be pulling apart — like taffy, or like Richter’s stretching spaghetti stripes of color.”
Wall Street Journal
“With each change on screen, the music responds: As the colors differentiate into intricate shapes, thunderous piano basses and descending clarinet melodies emerge…As the visual changes ramp up, Mr. Reich’s music becomes more raucous and syncopated.”
“This is not quite like anything he has done before.”
“At the end, Mr. Reich’s oscillating figure returns, and the horizontal bands begin to consolidate and vibrate, before racing across the screen like a bullet train of color. The effect is exhilarating.”
The New Yorker
“One of the composer’s strongest works in recent years, recapturing the spacious, swirling beauty of “Music for 18 Musicians,. At times, sound and image achieve an exhilarating synchronicity, as when stripes are hurtling across the screen and Reich’s instruments are racing in parallel motion. For a while, I turned away from the hypnotic screen and watched them play: sometimes one art form is sufficient.”
“Reich’s music freely mirrors these patterns, expanding from minimalist austerity to more full-bodied passages and back again. Reminiscent of his earliest work, it is very beautiful.”
New York Magazine
“Abstracted lobsters, vines, mandalas, amoeboid shapes, and other kinds of complicated symmetry beguiled the eye while Reich’s sonic patterns enveloped the ear.”
In one delightful section the vibraphone doubles with a solo violin to produce moments of dazzling, musical light which sail over the velvety harmony like small twinkling stars.