Author: Jedlicka, Jason R.
Title: Interpreting Steve Reich's Later Music (2007-2012)
Institution: Indiana University
Begun: March 2015
Completed: November 2018
Steve Reich (b. 1936) has written a great deal of music over the course of his career. In particular, I am interested in examining how trajectories are shaped in the works from 2007 through 2012. In studying this, I consider not necessarily what the musical elements that create these trajectories (melody, harmony, augmentation, canon, etc.) are, per se, but what these musical elements do. What actions are these musical elements performing or undertaking? Using a cross-section of the earlier pieces for contextualization, I articulate a framework for investigating the first movements of three later pieces: Radio Rewrite (2012), Mallet Quartet (2009), and Double Sextet (2007).
At once qualitative, evaluative, and interpretive, this analytical framework consists of three principal actions: building up, staying steady, and changing. Each action behaves and manifests in different ways, interacting with and reacting to each other to create larger structures of music. The framework offers a detailed way of observing what actions the music is performing or undertaking, thus enabling me to learn how trajectories are shaped in the later pieces. In Radio Rewrite, building up and staying steady can not only happen alongside one another, but these actions can coincide on a global level. In Mallet Quartet, the music is saturated with change at many levels. Paradoxically, most of the change serves to stabilize the building up and staying steady from section to section, creating uniformity across the piece’s landscape. Finally, a bifurcation of sorts exists in Double Sextet, where the movement is divided into two halves. While the first half builds up systematically and quickly reaches steadiness, different types of change undermine these actions, creating dramatic effects on phrasing and meter. The second half becomes more varied with respect to change, having an effect on the manifestation of canon.
Keywords: Reich, minimalism, postminimalism, Radio, Rewrite, Mallet, Quartet, Double, Sextet, analysis
Chapter 1 – Introduction
Chapter 2 – Literature Review
Chapter 3 – Introductory Analysis
Chapter 4 – Building Up
Chapter 5 – Staying Steady
Chapter 6 – Changing
Chapter 7 – Analyses
Chapter 7.1 – Radio Rewrite, 1st Movement
Chapter 7.2 – Mallet Quartet, 1st Movement
Chapter 7.3 – Double Sextet, 1st Movement
Chapter 8 – Conclusion