a rare alternate edition of steve reich’s clapping music, with an early filmed realization featuring the composer

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Steve Reich – Clapping Music For Two Performers (1972)

I came across the above alternate gallery edition of the score for Steve Reich’s Clapping Music For Two Performers a while back. With the discovery of an equally rare filmed realization of the work, featuring the composer, I thought it was a good time to send it out into the world. The standard score for Clapping Music is well know – arguably among the most recognizable of the 20th, do to an edition released in 1978 (I’m including it below for reference). Regarding the one before us, information is scarce. I’m not sure who produced the tiny edition of twenty five, nor when it entered the world, but it’s a thing of beauty, which, like all of Reich’s scores, speaks for itself. If you have a spare $500, it’s surprisingly still available through Bang on the Can.

Clapping Music needs little introduction. It is one of the most iconic works within the cannon of early Minimalism. Through its choice of instrumentation and structure, it is a defining moment for the 1970’s avant-garde. Had Reich done little more, through it, he would have stood the test of time. The film posted below, featuring Reich as a performer, is the earliest know document of the work. It wouldn’t find a release as a recording until it was included on Nonesuch Record’s complication Early Works, in 1987. It dates from the rough period of its composition, and makes it an invaluable document.  I hope you enjoy.

-Bradford Bailey

 

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Steve Reich – Clapping Music For Two Performers (1972 / 1978)

 

Steve Reich – Clapping Music For Two Performers, filmed during the early 70’s

 

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