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Taytoman Agonistes
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Went to some of the Steve Reich weekend just gone - the Friday and Sunday evening concerts. All were excellent, I have to say the piece that had the most impact on me was the first on Friday, "Three Movements", with its move from anxiety to menace to exultation. "Music for 18 musicians" was predictably awesome.

But one thing always sticks with me considering not just Reich, but also Philip Glass and the other minimalists (I think John Adams is more varied) - it seems best for conveying the three emotions referred to above, harried anxiety, menace and exultation bordering on hysteria.

I love Morton Feldman's "Madame Press Died Last Week at Ninety." Therefore, I was rather looking forward to his "Neither." My God, was I disappointed. "Neither" is like a sort of parody of the popular conception of modern classical music - great swathes of menace from the orchestra every so often, amidst great chunks of sheer boredom; an obviously talented soprano reduced to singing a sort of baby talk, all for 55 minutes or so. It would have been vaguely atmospheric at say 10 minutes, but the guts of an hour really pushed it. I'd say any of the hip young things in the NCH attracted by the celebrity of Reich would have been instantly turned off ever coming near the place again by "Neither." An odd act of almost wilfully perverse programming.

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