THE MAESTRO

by Robin Boothroyd

I’ve been lucky enough to see Steve Reich perform his 1972 composition Clapping Music three times this year: twice at The Barbican and once at The BBC Proms. Each time the piece has revealed different depths. Last Saturday when I saw it the house lights went down, the stage plunged into darkness, two men emerged from the wings (Reich in signature baseball cap) and the performance began…

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‘The Maestro’

commences
palm on palm
pure rhythm
in unison
pulls apart
a clamour of handclaps
pandemonium
a gradual phase back
reconvenes
in unison
pure rhythm
palm on palm
ceases

***

Watch Clapping Music below, performed by an unknown gentleman (l) and the composer himself (r).

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