Chapter

Variations for Winds, Strings, and Keyboards (1979)

Steve Reich

in Writings on Music 1965–2000

Published in print October 2004 | ISBN: 9780195151152
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850044 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195151152.003.0025
Variations for Winds, Strings, and Keyboards (1979)

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This chapter presents Reich's thoughts about Variations, which was completed in December 1979 and is approximately 25 minutes long. The work was performed in a chamber orchestral format at its world premiere on February 19, 1980. This piece introduces markedly new harmonic, formal, and timbrel material into Reich's music. The constant yet slow harmonic change, the slow recurrence of materials from variation to variation, and the scoring for oboes, flutes, full brass, strings, and acoustic and electric keyboards all give this piece a sound quite different from his earlier music.

Keywords: timbre; Variations; chamber orchestra; harmony; form

Chapter.  485 words. 

Subjects: American Music

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