Steve Reich and Gerhard Richter – two giants of contemporary culture – come together in a major new collaboration.
Steve Reich: the composer who redefined the very concept of rhythm – and whose vitality interrogates and transforms everything it touches. Gerhard Richter: a titan of contemporary art, a master of light capable of charging abstract forms with intense emotional power.
Together with Britten Sinfonia they’ve combined original music and digital visuals, algorithmically derived from Richter’s painting “946-3”, to create an artwork that is boundlessly more than the sum of its parts. “A stream of images, its rhythmic flow interpreted by music and, at the same time, a musical composition visualized by film images” is how Richter describes a collaboration that’s likely to be one of the most significant moments in contemporary art this year.
"Reich's new score, partly commissioned by the Barbican, delivered over 38 minutes with unstinting aplomb by Britten Sinfonia and the percussionist/conductor Colin Currie, occupied familiar minimalist ground."
"On screen, Richter's abstract images, using 946-3 (2016) as a starting point, split and multiply into an entire grammar of ornament and colour. Reich's music, played live - stunningly, by Britten Sinfonia, who also performed his Runner (2016) - sounds as if it's doing the reverse."
"Bringing together one of the world’s greatest living composers and the most celebrated living painter to make a joint music-and-moving-images work: it’s certainly a dream ticket from the marketing point of view. And as Wednesday night’s performance of Reich/Richter from the Britten Sinfonia and conductor Colin Currie showed, when there’s a real affinity of mind and method it can lead to something of truly spellbinding power."
"This sold-out performance at the Barbican was led by experienced Reich interpreter Colin Currie, whose performances of this music are rightly renowned, and the versatile Britten Sinfonia. Reich himself looked on from the projection desk in the stalls..."
"Currie's jagged and dramatic cues helped to punctuate the work with moments of dramatic and lyrical intensity; woodwind and percussion attacks gave bite to a work that sometimes sags. Britten Sinfonia made the works diaphanous, translucent, ending mysterious and fragile."
"Far from being the dry, academic process that might imply, the evanescent forms that appear in Reich's music are powerfully optimistic in a way that feels honest, unflinchingly brave and essentially human."
"For me, Reich's music has always accessed the "cauldron of creative form", "god's workshop", or whatever else you would like to call that realm, and tonight's imaginistic counterpart perfectly complemented that process."
"Whilst Reich’s rigorously constructed orchestral composition was expertly executed by the 14-piece Britten Sinfonia conducted by percussionist Colin Currie, the impression was anodyne, verging on ‘easy listening’..."