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Archival Steve Reich Videostream

The website of minimalist composer Steve Reich ( posted a videostream of his “Clapping Music” (1972) about two months back. The fuzzy black and white video shows Reich and noted percussionist Russell Hartenberger performing the piece in 1974, each clapping independent rhythmic lines that occasionally intersect, and otherwise produce a funky counterpoint. The endearingly low-quality video footage reminds you of life before such computer programs as Apple’s iLife made high-quality audio and video available for the masses. (It feels like it’s from an early episode of Sesame Street: “This avant-garde segment brought to you by the number two.”) For contrast, there’s also posted on the site a gamelan-flavored segment from the Hindenburg-themed section of Reich’s 2002 high-tech “video opera,” Three Tales. (More on Hartenberger — a University of Toronto music professor, and a member of Reich’s ensemble since 1971 — at

By Marc Weidenbaum

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