Minimalism is arguably the most popular style of concert music that the late-twentieth century has produced, appealing to the widest possible audience - fans of rock, jazz and classical music. But the minimalist aesthetic has not been lacking in controversy. To its detractors, it is maddeningly repetitive and single-minded, no better than pop music masquerading as art. To its adherents, it is ecstatic and vibrant, combining classical, popular and non-Western elements to create a style that restores the severed link between composer and audience. The two best-known minimalist composers, Americans Philip Glass and Steve Reich, are world-famous figures. But they can only properly be understood in the context of their predecessors (La Mome Young and Terry Riley) and their successors (John Adams, Meredith Monk, and Europeans such as Michael Nyman, Louis Andriessen, and Arvo Part). This book, the first overview of minimalism aimed at a general public, traces the lives of the minimalist composers, discusses their most significant works, and examines the artistic milieu from which they emerged.
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