the road to overtone – scattered performance documents of minimalist piano by reich, riley, young, palestine, and melnyk

During my recent trip back to New York, I spent a number of days with one of my dearest and oldest friends – Koen Holtkamp. As is usually the case when we are together, most of our evening were spent in rambling conversation – excitedly pulling records from the shelves – letting the needle drop again and again – our thoughts rushing from one place to the next, following the passages of sound. During one of these conversations, we began to compare impressions of Minimalist piano performances we had seen over the years – specifically those by Charlemagne Palestine and Lubomyr Melnyk. Each of these composer / pianists, holds a particularly important spot in both of our hearts. As a result, they have been lingering in my thoughts since – conversing with each other through notes and difference of approach.

Earlier today – in celebration of “international piano day”, I noticed that Steve Reich had posted a filmed performance from 1976 of Six Pianos on his Facebook page, bring my thoughts back to subject of the instrument as central actor in the movement of musical Minimalism. As a result, I decided to assemble a scattered collection of live performances by a number of key figures –  Steve Reich, Terry Riley, La Monte Young, Charlemagne Palestine and Lubomyr Melnyk, that I have come across in recent years – to place them in conversation with each other, and thus allow proximity to unpack the diversity found within these efforts of great constraint.  I’ll let them speak for themselves, and hope you enjoy.

-Bradford Bailey


Steve Reich and Musicians – Six Pianos,  Live in Amsterdam (1976)

Charlemagne Palestine – Concert at  Kunsthalle Wien (2015)


Lubomyr Melnyk – Live in Hamburg (2015)

Terry Riley – Live at the Moscow Conservatory  (2000)

La Monte Young – The Well-Tuned Piano in The Magenta Lights (87 V 10 6:43:00 PM – 87 V 10 01:07:45 AM NYC) (1987)

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