The Orquestra Simfònica del Vallés

A brief history of minimalism at the Palau de la Música

The Orquestra Simfònica del Vallés is preparing a programme of music in which repetition plays a major role, featuring pieces by Michael Nyman and John Adams and Maurice Ravel.

Minimalist music consists of three important elements: the first is the use of the minimum possible number of sounds, the second is the repetition of these sounds, and the third is a tendency towards a change in the modulation of the chords that creates a sensation of movement, flow and certainty. Musical minimalism, as defined by the critic and composer Michael Nyman, emerged in the 1960s in the United States as a reaction against the complex European avant-garde music of the time. Inspired by countercultural movements such as beatnik poetry, the discovery of drugs, oriental philosophy and rock, it put tonality back into contemporary music. But this movement had certain precedents: Maurice Ravel’s famous Bolero is a repetitive and atmospheric construction, and it has an exotic element thanks to the use of Asian timbems. Bolero is the centre piece of From Nyman’s piano to Ravel’s Bolero, a new programme by the Orquestra Simfònica del Vallés at the Palau de la Música Catalana on 17 March, which is designed to offer a brief history of musical minimalism.

The first part of the program consists of two pieces for piano featuring Enrique Lapaz, the winner of the Ricard Viñes award: Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major and Michael Nyman’s 'The Piano' Suite for Piano and Orchestra, which is a well known feature of the soundtrack of Jane Campion’s homonymous film. These will be followed by Ravel’s iconic Bolero and, finally, a symphonic piece by John Adams, the last great American minimalist composer, titled The Chairman Dances.

You’ll find more information about this concert and ticket sales on the Palau de la Música website.

Publication date: Tuesday, 13 March 2018
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