Stories » With exhilarating precision, Sō Percussion phases Steve Reich / The Boston Musical Intelligencer

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With exhilarating precision, Sō Percussion phases Steve Reich / The Boston Musical Intelligencer

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Sanders Theater, being Harvard's largest indoor meeting place, contained a remarkably varied crowd for its Thursday night concert of Sō Percussion for the Celebrity Series of Boston. With exhilarating precision, the Brooklyn-based group gives sensational interpretations of modern classics. The audience appeared ready for an immersion into a world of rhythm. One basic rhythmic pattern prevailed for all of Steve Reich's Drumming. Though it undergoes changes of phase position, pitch, timbre, all the performers play this pattern, or some part of it, throughout the entire piece, which needs to be seen as well as heard. Inspired by the music of Ghana, Drumming is a powerful and hypnotic piece for nine players considered by many to be minimalism's first masterpiece. Written in 1970, it introduced Reich's now-staple technique of phasing (2 players playing a single repeated pattern in unison, while one player changes tempo slightly, until eventually they're one to several beats out of sync) as well as and some new concepts like rhythmic reduction and whistling effects in imitation of percussion sounds.

READ THE FULL Boston Musical Intelligencer REVIEW