Amstel Quartet: Steve Reich – My Name Is

My Name Is (1967) performed by the members of the Amstel Quartet

No concerts, no rehearsals during this corona crisis.

Although we are still at home, we still feel a big urge to communicate with the public; making music is our life. With this performance of an early work [1967] by Steve Reich, we hope to give everyone a little bit of support in this difficult time.

Normally we realise this piece with the help of the audience:

Upon entering the venue, people are asked to record their own name, and a selection
those names will then be heard in the hall during the concert.

While many audience members record their name, no one is sure if theirs will be used, so there is a healthy, almost childlike tension about whether someone will get to hear his or her own name. Anyone who went to the concert with the “speaker” will also be waiting with anticipation, and once the voice in question is heard , there is often a response that ranges from hilarity to shyness.

In this piece, Reich uses his “phase shifting” technique, in which sounds gradually shift over one another. The well-known Piano Phase and Violin Phase were written around the same time. While in the 1960’s contemporary music was most often characterised by a sense of detachment, this work allows the audience to participate very closely and makes the music much more personal.

In the late 1960s tape recorders were initially used for the phase shifting processes, but
our soprano saxophonist Remco has designed a computer program that achieves the same effect.

The recordings of our voices were made at the quartet members’ homes.

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