Steve Reich: Radio Rewrite Tour – The Reviews


Our Steve Reich: Radio Rewrite Tour has taken us across the country, performing concerts in London, Birmingham, Brighton and Glasgow. The tour has comprised of four main concerts, two schools matinee concerts in London and Birmingham, and a concert with NYOS Futures in Glasgow.

Here are the press reviews:

Tuesday 5 March |  Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London

‘What gave pleasure was seeing how thoroughly the borrowed material turned into Reich. It was a fine display of compositional mastery, which had nothing to do with remix culture, and everything to do with old-fashioned virtues of harmony and counterpoint.’
Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph 

‘In its instrumentation and quasi-renaissance voice-leading, in which the slow-moving lines of the melodic instruments are scrunched together, the piece’s strongest resemblance was to 2008’s masterpiece Double Sextet, a superb performance of which followed.’
Guy Dammann, The Guardian

Radio Rewrite is a rich and impressive ensemble piece for non-rock instruments – performed here by musicians from the London Sinfonietta conducted by Brad Lubman. Those much-hyped allusions are fleeting (most noticeable are hints at the melodic loops of the Kid A track) and although the piece begins with sets of minimalist patterns, the journey through the five interlocking movements is varied, with periods of shadowy ambience.’
Laura Battle, Financial Times

‘It’s always a delight to watch the composer form one half of Clapping Music (the other pair of hands belonged to the Sinfonietta’s David Hockings). Electric Counterpoint, though sadly not played by Greenwood, was given a blinding performance by Mats Bergström. Though accompanied only by his own pre-recorded selves, the guitarist presented one of Reich’s most entrancing soundscapes as if he were the frontman of an incredibly cool, but sadly imaginary, supergroup.’
Neil Fisher, The Times (subscriber access only)

‘The peerless London Sinfonietta (directed with metronomic precision by Brad Lubman) lapped up their latest commission, which is sure to join Electric Counterpoint and Double Sextet (which we also heard) in the vanguard of their repertoire.’
Stephen Pritchard, The Observer

‘Last night’s rendition from Mats Bergstrom was a stunner itself. The technical complexities of this work’s balancing act – in which a guitarist must pre-record up to 12 separate lines of music, offering up a 13th strand for live consumption – were subsumed within a supremely sexy performance, in which the gentle ricocheting against the backing track built up its dense but legible groove with a ravishing beauty of tone and elegance of phrasing.’
Igor Toronyi-Lalic, The Arts Desk (Classical Review)

Wednesday 6 March | Town Hall, Birmingham

‘…the song’s elliptical unfolding and oblique content are rather ironed out in music whose rhythmic drive lacks a distinctive harmonic presence, but not so the latter – where the song’s tonal ambiguity and tonal ambivalence has facilitated some of Reich’s most resourceful and evocative writing. The closing bars even evince a degree of rhetoric rare in his music – something which the London Sinfonietta players handled with deft assurance and not a little aplomb.’
Richard Whitehouse, Classical Source

Thursday 7 March | The Dome, Brighton

‘At the concert that evening, the Dome quickly filled up with an eager chatter of anticipation which was silenced by the opening piece Clapping Music, performed by the composer himself; the rhythmic complexity created between two pairs of hands clapping was simply stunning.’
Tom Sayer, We Love Brighton

‘It’s an enthralling composition, the ensemble’s vibraphones and two pianos driving the sharp, skittering strings during the fast parts, whilst the slow movements are imbued with a striking solemnity. Conductor Brad Lubman throws himself into the task, casting a few funky shapes as he leans into the musical headwind.’
Theo Hooper, The Big Issue

Saturday 9 March | Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow

‘What a wonderful, energising and even moving modern musical occasion this was… this evening dedicated to the great American composer, who was present, was crowned by a superlative last two-thirds stamped by the Sinfonietta’s superb handling of Reich’s Double Sextet, as well as his new work, Radio Rewrite.’
Phil Miller, Herald Scotland

A selection of audience tweets:

#RadioRewrite wonderful wonderful new piece by @SteveReich @Ldn_Sinfonietta @southbankcentre
Philip Flood @Philip_Flood

Utterly brilliant. @Ldn_Sinfonietta playing @SteveReich at the @southbankcentre live on @BBCRadio3 #RadioRewrite
Jonathan Weller @weller_j

Overheard A level boy in @southbankcentre Steve Reich concert “one day will tell our grandchildren about this concert” @Ldn_Sinfonietta
Gayle Sutherland @makesmeexcited

Stunning performance of Steve Reich’s Electronic Counterpoint by Mats Bergstrom – highlight of the evening @Ldn_Sinfonietta @southbankcentre
Penny King @pennykingx

Mats Bergström’s rendition of Steve Reich’s Electronic Counterpoint tonight – quite something, as was @Ldn_Sinfonietta @southbankcentre
Bella Saer @bellasaer

Reich’s Radio Rewrite from London Sinfonietta at RFH tonight..trance-like triumph..and piece funded partly by online crowd sourcing. Bravo!
Peter Bazalgette @PeterBazalgette

@SteveReich @Ldn_Sinfonietta Last night was brilliant and radio rewrite was the highlight of the evening…bravo!
Rachel Hutchinson @Rach_L_Hutch

Excellent @Ldn_Sinfonietta schools matinee @THSHBirmingham #learnandjoinin George Dixon Academy were thrilled to meet Steve Reich afterwards
Katie Banks @Banksy9

Big thanks to @THSHBirmingham and @Ldn_Sinfonietta from staff and students from @ShirelandCA for the Steve Reich concert. Absolutely brill!
Nicholas Marr @NMarrSCA

Steve Reich and the @Ldn_Sinfonietta were inspirational last night. Every piece was golden. Can’t wait to hear Radio Rewrite again!
Jay Platt @jayplattuk

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