Composer of the Week - Steve Reich (b.1936) - Episode 2

By the late 1970s and 80s, Steve Reich - a one-time radical - was increasingly acclaimed across the musical world - his pieces performed in concert halls, his presence in demand across the world. Yet as commissions began to flood in, the composer found himself writing for ever larger, and ever more unwieldy, orchestral ensembles - a situation that threw up all sorts of challenges.and frustrations. After all, what's an American composer living in the last quarter of the 20th century got in common with the medium of Beethoven, Brahms and Mahler? Donald Macleod discusses the perils and pitfalls of writing for the orchestra with the composer, including a rare performance of his most extended orchestral piece, the sensuous "The Four Sections". The programme also features excerpts from Reich's first major vocal piece, "Tehillim", for which he drew on his own Jewish heritage.