Written by Ed Osborn
Willimantic, CT -- Imagine a piece with a few musical phrases, each of which is just a measure long. As a performer, you are told to repeat each one for as long as you like, and then move on to the next one. There will also be someone keeping a steady beat on the piano, playing the top two C notes like a ride cymbal. Welcome to the world of "In C," the piece that single-handedly defined musical minimalism. It's a landmark work, and will be presented in its entirety at Eastern Connecticut State University on Sunday, April 15 in Shafer Auditorium, as part of a retrospective of contemporary music.
Besides "In C," the concert will also feature two pieces by Steve Reich, one of the most prominent composers working in the Minimalist style. The classic work "Piano Phase" will be played by two Eastern students. Both pianists begin playing the same idea, but then one gets a little ahead of the other. Reich's idea of "Phasing" inspired many other works of his, including "Music for Pieces of Wood," which will be played by the Eastern Percussion Studio.
Also on the program is a work by Connecticut-based Alvin Lucier, who has been a staple of experimental music since the 1960s. His piece, "Nothing is Real," takes fragments of the Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever" and re-imagines it so that it is eventually sent through a teapot! These pieces are riveting and an amazing experience to see and hear.
The instrumentation for "In C" is left up to the performers, the number of which is variable. The performance at Eastern will have a multitude of percussionists, keyboard players, synthesizers, guitars, basses, mandolins, accordions, pianos and a variety of wind instruments.
The concert is free and open to the public, and will be at 5 p.m. in Shafer Auditorium on April 15. For more information, please call the Performing Arts Department at (860) 465-5764.