BBC Proms 2016 / Proms At Peckham: Multi-Story Orchestra plays Steve Reich

I’ve taken to writing blog posts in Microsoft Word, reading them over and editing, after which I upload them to WordPress for publication.

My ease writing copy outside of an adequately designed web form has something to do with needing a lack of clutter. In Microsoft Word, I can focus on what I’m doing. I won’t allow a weak moment to be subjected to another wasted few minutes on the internet.

I can focus on the words on the page; I can hear those words more clearly in my head as I type; words and phrases, and thoughts and feelings present themselves more readily to me.

Perhaps what I’m really uncovering is that typing a draft into Microsoft Word helps me create a state of mindfulness.

The same can be said of Steve Reich’s music. His creations aren’t works I’ve ever sought out, but they’re always rewarding when I hear them.

Repetitive loops shifting imperceptibly over an extended period of time are his trademark, underneath which is a respect for the smallest fragment of detail the rest of us could be forgiven for overlooking.

And when Reich brings our attention to that fragment, overlaying or colliding it with others, and then repeating it over and over again, he creates something beautiful and intensely personal to the listener.

Whilst we might be listening to Reich’s music, what we’re really hearing is ourselves. We hear the pain, the joy, and the apathy of our everyday lives bellowing out above his rich multi-layered creations.

I love Reich’s music. I love its respect for those of us who ruminate. I love the way I can get lost in his creation on my own unique journey. And I love the way he’ll insist of changing direction in a piece as though he knows when my mind needs a gear change. The effect is hypnotic, of course, but it’s also one which makes me feel safe, free to explore whatever it is I want to look for.

There should be more of these at the Proms, but I’d really like to hear events like this unmediated. Such is the effect of Reich’s music that any interruptions to an altered mind state are jarring.

Perhaps there’s scope, as we heard during the Stockhausen Prom a few years back, for broadcasting exclusive new works which play during stage moves.

The really daring approach would be to be to stream the entire concert live to iPlayer with a fixed cam – no direction, just one fixed camera including the audience and the stage.

A favourite from the concert? There is no favourite. All of Reich’s music is sheer brilliance.

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