Last night I went to Phildanco's performance at The Joyce and saw something I did not expect: a dance set to Steve Reich's "Tehillim." Phildanco is one of America's premier contemporary dance companies, with a heavy African-American influence. And "Tehillim" is Reich's iconic Jewish chorale. Not there's a necessary contradiction, hardly. But seeing the company's exceptional dancers shimmy to Reich gave me pause.
This week I wrote about the minimalist composer Steve Reich, whose groundbreaking Jewish chorale piece "Tehillim" (1981) is being performed by the teenage new music ensemble Face the Music next Thursday at Le Poisson Rouge. (They'll perform "Tehillim" at other locations over the next few months as well.)
Playing celebrated composer’s ‘Tehillim’ is close encounter with a classic of modern music and Jewish culture.
‘Do it again! Kol han-sha ma ta-ha lail!” thundered Alan Pierson, conductor of the new music classical group Alarm Will Sound, at a rehearsal last week with the teenage ensemble Face the Music.
They were rehearsing Steve Reich’s seminal chorale piece, “Tehillim,” from 1981, which both ensembles performed together on Sunday at Merkin Concert Hall. Face the Music will continue to perform the piece throughout the city in upcoming weeks.