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Concert Hour: New music at Cologne's Eight Bridges

Contemporary sounds top the agenda at Cologne's Eight Bridges festival. We're heading there for the most recent edition to hear works by Steve Reich, Bernhard Gander and Hans Abrahamsen.

Steve Reich

Two works by American composer Steve Reich are featured this week

Imagine racing down a curvy highway in a high-powered sports car - and maybe regretting having even climbed in. That's how composer Steve Reich described his work "Short Ride in a Fast Machine," which opens this week's program from the Eight Bridges festival in Cologne, Germany. New and contemporary music is the bread and butter of the event that took place for the fourth time in 2014.

We'll hear a second work by the minimal music master Reich - his "New York Counterpoint," arranged for 11 clarinets, from 1985. Clarinetist Thorsten Johannsen tells us, "We've all heard a lot of minimal music. Sometimes the repetitions and uniform rhythms can become tedious. This piece is that way too, but there's something totally new and different about it, you can almost dance to it. It’s very rhythmic. And the special thing is that there are three movements, but the tempo never changes. Yet you perceive it as moving along faster or slower."

There's also a world premiere in the show: "orchannibal corpse," written by Austrian-born Bernhard Gander. The genre-mixing and experimental composer was on hand in the audience to hear his work debut. The program concludes with a piece by Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen, whose work Johannsen describes as simultaneously complex, fragile and innocent.

Steve Reich (1936-)
Short Ride in a Fast Machine

West German Radio Symphony Orchestra Cologne
Conductor: Jonathan Stockhammer

Steve Reich
New York Counterpoint, for 11 clarinets

Thorsten Johannsen, clarinet
Andreas Langenbuch, clarinet
eight music academy students, clarinets

Bernhard Gander (1969-)
orchannibal corpse

West German Radio Symphony Orchestra Cologne
Conductor: Jonathan Stockhammer

Hans Abrahamsen (1952-)
Concerto for piano and orchestra

Tamara Stefanovich, piano
West German Radio Symphony Orchestra Cologne
Conductor: Jonathan Stockhammer

Recorded by West German Radio, Cologne (WDR) in the Cologne Philharmonie on May 4, 2014

Rebroadcasting rights: One broadcast before November 16, 2015

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