Introduction: experimental, minimalist, postminimalist? Origins, definitions, communities

Authored by: Kyle Gann , Keith Potter , Pwyll ap Siôn

The Ashgate Research Companion to Minimalist and Postminimalist Music

Print publication date:  November  2013
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409435495
eBook ISBN: 9781315613260
Adobe ISBN: 9781317042556

10.4324/9781315613260.intro

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Abstract

Consider, to begin with, the summer of 1974. In that summer, the pre-eminent German record label Deutsche Grammophon released a three-record set of music by Steve Reich, a composer of whom, at that time, most classical-music record-store browsers had probably not yet heard. Prior to that moment, Deutsche Grammophon, along with issuing the usual sets of the Beethoven, Brahms and Sibelius symphonies, had championed the ultra-complex music of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Bruno Maderna, Hans Werner Henze and other controversial luminaries of the European avant-garde. The impact of that company lending its prestigious imprimatur to an unknown American composer writing in a brand new style – a tonal style, yet, in the great age of atonality – can hardly be overstated. In that summer, minimalist music suddenly burst, from the lofts of Manhattan and the electronic studios of San Francisco, into public consciousness. And that record set took off. In the 1970s many considered it a holy icon.

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