Tones, Drones and Arpeggios: The Magic of Minimalism

New York

Series 1 - Episode 2 New York



Steve Reich and Philip Glass loom large in this concluding part as Charles Hazlewood explains how in the 1970s the “minimalist” movement transitioned from the avant-garde to, well, almost mainstream music, and became the soundtrack of a city – New York.

Sharing his zeal and insight are Jarvis Cocker, Radio 3’s Tom Service and the Southbank’s director of music Gillian Moore. Hazlewood is jammy enough to be admitted into the benign presence of both Glass and Reich. The latter is amusing when prodded for his opinion on the term “minimalism”. The hypnotic extracts performed may send you straight to iTunes, Spotify et al.

Let’s hope more of these works will be programmed at the BBC Proms.


Charles Hazlewood concludes his exploration of minimalism, classical music's last great `movement', which climaxed in the late 1970s on America's east coast. In the second of two episodes, he explores how breakthrough techniques first explored on tape by Steve Reich were transposed for orchestral performance, and how Philip Glass' experiments with repetitive structures along with his innovative work in opera, revealed new possibilities for classical music. The programme includes excerpts from minimalist pieces, plus part of Mike Oldfield's minimalist-inspired Tubular Bells. Contributors include Jarvis Cocker.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Charles Hazlewood
Contributor Tom Service
Contributor Gillian Moore
Contributor Laurie Spiegel
Contributor Nico Muhly
Contributor Julia Wolfe
Contributor Max Richter
Contributor Bryce Dessner
Contributor Jarvis Cocker
Contributor Adrian Utley
Director Ben Whalley
Executive Producer Franny Moyle
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