The Minimalists

Forty years ago a musical revolution took place, which was to have huge repercussions for contemporary serious music, and which has remained controversial right up to the present day.

Minimalism was born in NEW YORK, and its protagonists were initially abused as charlatans.

Yet their work was to attract widespread popular interest, develop a unique aesthetic, and permeate the mainstream of commercial music.

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01Beginnings20050131

Forty years ago a musical revolution took place, which was to have huge repercussions for contemporary serious music, and which has remained controversial right up to the present day.

Minimalism was born in NEW YORK, and its protagonists were initially abused as charlatans.

Yet their work was to attract widespread popular interest, develop a unique aesthetic, and permeate the mainstream of commercial music.In the first programme Donald Macleod looks at key works by those protagonists - La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich and Philip Glass, against the backdrop of 1960s America.


Adams: Short Ride in a Fast Machine

San Francisco Symphony Orchestra

Edo de Waart (conductor)


La Monte Young: The Second Dream of the High-Tension Stepdown Transformer

Theatre of Eternal Music


Terry Riley: In C

Centre of the Creative and Performing Arts in the State of NEW YORK at Buffalo


Steve Reich: Come Out
Terry Riley: A Rainbow in Curved Air

Terry Riley (electric organ, electric harpsichord, rocksichord, dumbak and tambourine)


Glass: Music in Contrary Motion

Steffen Schleiermacher (electric organ).

02Steve Reich20050201

Steve Reich's exposure to Terry Riley's revolutionary work In C inspired him to follow in Riley's footsteps and he was soon to become one of Minimalism's key exponents.

Donald Macleod explores the development of Reich's music from the austerity of Piano Phase to the action-packed portrait of New York in City Life.


Piano Phase

Nurit Tilles, Edmund Niemann (pianos)


Drumming

Steve Reich and Musicians


New York Counterpoint

Roland Diry (clarinet)


City Life

Ensemble Modern

Peter Munder (conductor).

03Philip Glass20050202

In spite of his conventional music education, Philip Glass was destined to become the most popular of all the Minimalist composers.

Donald Macleod explores the life and music of the man who not only became the darling of the mainstream musical establishment early in his career but has profoundly influenced the course of pop music since.


Music in the Form of a Square

Manuel Zurria (flute)


Music in Twelve Parts

Philip Glass Ensemble


Einstein on the Beach: Knee Play 3

Philip Glass Chorus

Michael Riesman, conductor


Mad Rush

Bruce Brubaker (piano)


Koyaanisqatsi: Pruit Igoe

Philip Glass Ensemble.

04The Diaspora20050203

Donald Macleod explores how Minimalist ideas have spread throughout the world and influenced composers as diverse as Arvo Part, Michael Nyman and Brian Eno.


Nyman: Chasing Sheep is Best Left to Shepherds, (from The Draughtsman's Contract), The Michael Nyman Band
Andriessen: De Snelheid, Icebreaker
Eno: Music for Airports 1/2, Bang on a Can All-Stars
Laurie Anderson: O Superman: Laurie Anderson (vocals/vocoder/electronics), Roma Baran (Farfisa/Casio), Perry Hoberman (Flute/Sax)
Part: Summa; Hilliard Ensemble, Lynne Dawson; David James; John Potter; Paul Hillier
Meredith Monk: Gotham Lullaby; Meredith Monk (vocals), Brodsky Quartet.

05 LASTJohn Adams20050204

Donald Macleod ends his exploration of the birth and spread of Minimalism, with a look at the early works of the composer who has risen to become one of the most popular composers in America's concert halls.


China Gates

Bruce Brubaker (piano)


Shaker Loops

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

Marin Alsop (conductor)


Nixon in CHINA - extracts

Nixon....James Maddalena

Chou En-lai....Sanford Sylvan

Orchestra of St Luke's


Grand Pianola Music

Part II - 'On the Dominant Divide'LONDON Sinfonietta

John Adams (conductor).