Published Apr 22, 2009Composer Steve Reich is the latest recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music. He was awarded the honour for his piece "Double Sextet," premiered by new music ensemble eighth blackbird in April of last year. The composition is scored for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, vibraphone and piano, and, as the name implies, may be played by a double sextet or six musicians accompanying themselves with their pre-recorded alter egos. The Pulitzer panel praised it as "a major work that displays an ability to channel an initial burst of energy into a large-scale musical event, built with masterful control and consistently intriguing to the ear."
This latest honour is one of the most important in Reich's long and storied career. One of the most important composers of the century, Reich rose to prominence in the mid-'60s with minimalist statements like "It's Gonna Rain." His music explores repetition, often utilizing relatively simple but imaginative technological effects like tape loops and phasing to augment his rhythms. Reich's work has had tremendous impact not only on classical music but also progressive rock and many forms of dance music, from no wave to techno.
"Double Sextet" hasn't yet been recorded (in the CD-making sense). Eighth blackbird's website states the group will be in the studio in September and hope to release the results on Nonesuch Records, Reich's label, sometime in 2010.