Steve Reich Gives New Details About His Piece Inspired By Radiohead

“Radio Rewrite” will last 18 or 20 minutes and will première next March in the hands of the London Sinfonietta

Last January we told you that the composer Steve Reich, a fundamental name in the North American repetitive school, was going to première a piece inspired by Radiohead’s “ Everything In Its Right Place” and “ Jigsaw Falling Into Pieces”. It will reportedly be performed on the 5th March 2013, in London’s Southbank Centre, performed by the London Sinfonietta. It all came up after an encounter that the musician had with Jonny Greenwood last year in Poland, where the guitarist performed Reich’s “ Electric Counterpoint”.

Now, thanks to an interview given to The Quietus, we know more details about this new piece, suitably titled “ Radio Rewrite”, which will last about 18 or 20 minutes (it’s close to completion). Steve Reich has clarified that the piece is composed for the flute, clarinet, two vibraphones, two pianos, a string quartet, and an electric bass that plays in the first and last movement. “If you didn't know the original material, rock and roll wouldn't cross your mind. […But] sometimes something comes to the surface which reminds you very clearly of [what Radiohead does]."

Reich comments that his intention was never to stick closely to Radiohead’s material or to try to re-imagine it, but rather to use it as a point of departure for a composition that is entirely his own. His idea was to explore: "What if I took these songs, "Everything in its Right Place" and "Jigsaw Falling into Place", and used some of the harmonies, some of the bass lines, some of the melodic material, but going my own way with it, using that material as a starting point, a stimulus. Sure enough, it worked. You know, you go where the energy is."

When asked what he likes about Radiohead, the famed North American said : “Their compositions are absolutely brilliant. I saw a black and white video of them rehearsing "Jigsaw Falling Into Place" and what struck me was not only that it was a beautiful song, but that the band are so committed. There's no showbiz, just musicians communicating very directly. These are beautiful tunes and I can't improve on them, so I've written my own piece”.

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