I like the music of Steve Reich — and not just because Music for 18 Musicians is the best make-out music ever composed. His list of masterpieces is long, and includes Drumming, Music for a Large Ensemble, Octet, Different Trains, Sextet, The Desert Music, and many other works.

I even enjoy some of his earliest minimalist experiments, such as Piano Phase.

Here we learn that this early classic has been adapted for harpsichord:


Apparently Harpsichord Phase is a riot.

What we have here is a bit of a reversal.

After The Rite of Spring ballet elicited a riot at its 1913 Paris premiere, the story got related to Rite fans in the late 20th century as a case of snobby, stodgy oldsters who didn’t really appreciate music. They were no better than culture snobs who wanted their ears blessed with the merely pretty (and perhaps by the merely Parisian). But the folks objecting to harpsichord minimalism at this recent boo-out no doubt love music. They love their music, not others’. And by going to a harpsichord recital, they thought themselves insulated from alien sounds. This cannot be construed as simple snobbery, can it?

Fortunately, my tastes are broad enough that I wouldn’t even object to some painful rendition of a dodecaphonic monstrosity.

But then, my manners and respect for others’ property and contracts preclude me from interrupting even dreck.

I would not cry fire in a crowded theater, either.

Unless there was a fire.

We can be certain: there was no fire in Harpsichord Phase. That music is saved from the heat and rufosity of that most volatile element.