The Southbank Centre’s Deep Minimalism
The clue is in the title. The Southbank Centre’s weekend-long Deep Minimalism festival is setting out to challenge preconceptions of minimalist music. In the surprisingly brief opening concert there was not a single time-stretching looped arpeggio to be heard.
Whatever “depth” is revealed, this is not a celebration of the repetitious riffs pedalled by Terry Riley, Philip Glass, Steve Reich and John Adams – now establishment figures, especially Adams – but about their more maverick contemporaries.
Indeed, the concert began with a work by the avant-gardist John Cage. One of his series of “number pieces” dating from the last years of his life. Twenty-three, like all the others in the series, takes its title from the number of players required. In this case 13 violins were joined by five violas and five cellos.