From Thu 1 – Sat 3 Feb, the Hallé stages a sprawling celebration of the contemporary classic music titan, Steve Reich, with three days of breathtaking live concerts featuring collaborations with world-renowned musicians Colin Currie and Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood.

Part of the Hallé’s inaugural ‘The Hallé Presents…’ programme, the three concerts feature over ten seminal compositions by the groundbreaking minimalist icon, from sweeping masterworks like The Desert Music and The Four Sections to smaller, pared-back sequences of unbridled percussive genius like Music for Pieces of Wood and Mallet Quartet, written especially for Colin Currie who delivered a flawless rendition across sold-out concerts at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall.

On Thu 1 Feb, Currie – hailed as ‘the world’s finest and most daring percussionist’ by The Spectator – kicks-off the Steve Reich Festival with a performance of Music for Pieces of Wood, a simple yet staggeringly intricate arrangement made with just five pairs of pitched claves, followed by his Music for Ensemble and Orchestra, a ‘stunning masterpiece’ (San Francisco Chronicle) featuring 20 soloists as a spiritual extension of the Baroque Concerto. For The Desert Music, Currie is joined by talented performers from the RNCM Chamber Choir to round off an unmissable evening at the Bridgewater Hall. Click here to book your tickets, with £3 student tickets available and a 30% discount for under-30s.

While Friday’s concert at Hallé St. Peter’s is sold-out, Reich fans and classical newbies alike can still grab tickets to the final live performance of the series on Sat 3 Feb, in which Radiohead guitarist and composer Jonny Greenwood takes to the Bridgewater Hall stage to reprise his unforgettable rendition of Reich’s Electric Counterpoint from Glastonbury 2014. Beginning with the innovative arrangement Clapping Music – hand-made in the most literal sense – the festival’s closing concert programme features the ‘calmly luminous’ (New York Times) Runner followed by The Four Sections, a stunningly audacious ‘contrapuntal web’ referring to the four orchestral families – wind, brass, strings and percussion – and the four varied movements within the work. After Greenwood’s luminous interpretation of Electric Counterpoint, the festival concludes with Reich/Richter, a concert composition which doubles as the score for Gerhard Richter’s captivatingly vivid abstract film, Moving Picture (946-3). Only a handful of tickets remain, so click here to book yours before they inevitably sell out.

From orchestra, chorus, ensemble, chamber and film down to two pair of bare hands, this festival is certainly comprehensive. Given the participation of musicians like Colin Currie and Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead guitarist) as well as the work of visual artist Gerhard Richter, this promises to be a magnetically attractive event.” – Steve Reich

For more information on the full programme, head to the Hallé website.

A Manchester Wire Partnership post
Thu 1 Feb - Sat 3 Feb, 7.30pm, The Bridgewater Hall,
Lower Mosley St, Manchester, M2 3WS
, £6-£32.50
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Mon 15 Jan 2024