Teems with all that’s vibrant and mesmerizing in Reich’s music
For those who’ve ever been hesitant to dip your toe into the pulsating music of Steve Reich, now’s the time to take a full-on nostril dive. The 86-year-old composer has simply launched his twenty sixth album on Nonesuch and it options Runner, an ebullient piece in 5 linked actions which may simply be Reich’s most accessible work since Music for 18 Musicians within the mid-’70s.
Runner teems with all that’s vibrant and mesmerizing in Reich’s music. It opens with the piano setting a pulse of toggling sixteenth notes, whereas strings, winds and percussion file in individually to create a fascinating whirligig of interlocking layers. The music buzzes in weightlessness. Maintain an ear out for the passage, starting at 1:28, the place two chirping oboes chase one another as vibraphones chime like clocks. It’s among the many sunniest, most joyous stretches in Reich’s catalog. Hat’s off to conductor Susanna Mälkki, who leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a vigorous, clear efficiency.