LÉONIN, PEROTIN, REICH:
'HOW SMALL A THOUGHT IT TAKES'
8pm | Zipper Hall | The Colburn School
Léonin - VIDERUNT OMNES (ca. 12th century)
Pérotin - VIDERUNT OMNES (ca. 12th/13th century)
Steve Reich - MUSIC FOR 18 MUSICIANS (1974-76)
MEC Early Music Ensemble
Jonathan Hepfer, project director
"How small a thought it takes to fill a whole life!"
- Ludwig Wittgenstein
In one of Reich's later works, Proberb, the composer sets to music Wittgenstein's dictum "how small a thought it takes to fill a whole life!" It is this obsession with transforming the simple into the complex that links these composers in spite of nearly eight centuries of historical distance.
Despite the myriad surface differences in these respective works, we hope to show that there is something common deeply embedded in their DNA. Experiencing an art form across a span of several centuries demonstrates how it is both constantly evolving and timeless. This concert gives a new meaning to the phrase "music as a gradual process."
In his 1968 essay Music as a Gradual Process, Steve Reich compares listening to one of his pieces to "placing your feet in the sand by the ocean's edge and watching, feeling, and listening to the waves gradually bury them." In his Music for 18 Musicians, a simple pulse imperceptibly transforms into an almost impossibly vibrant polyphony.
In a sense, it is this same process that distinguishes two composers of the 12th century Notre Dame school of polyphony, Léonin and Pérotin, who were two of the earliest composers to transform monophonic musical forms into polyphonic ones.