The world needs more Steve Reich music. His compositions, particularly Music for 18 Musicians, reward listeners with a sense of serenity rarely found in contemporary art. His works are an elegant counterpoint to the headlong rush of life.
18 premiered in 1976. It is written in the style of minimalism, in which melodies are repeated for long periods of time, varying slightly with each repetition.
Minimalism is not for everyone. It repeats itself at much greater length than in most classical music. It will either madden you or gladden you. If it clicks, you will be enthralled. If not, at least you will have been exposed to something different. At its best, I find minimalism exhilarating.
Wikipedia offers this explanation of the piece:
The piece is based on a cycle of eleven chords. A small piece of music is based on each chord, and the piece returns to the original cycle at the end. The sections are named “Pulses”, and Section I-XI. This was Reich’s first attempt at writing for larger ensembles, and the extension of performers resulted in a growth of psycho-acoustic effects, which fascinated Reich, and he noted that he would like to “explore this idea further”.
A prominent factor in this work is the augmentation of the harmonies and melodies and the way that they develop this piece. Another important factor in the piece is the use of human breath, used in the clarinets and voices, which help structure and bring a pulse to the piece. The player plays the pulsing note for as long as he can hold it, while each chord is melodically deconstructed by the ensemble, along with augmentation of the notes held. The metallophone (unplugged vibraphone), is used to cue the ensemble to change patterns or sections.
A good performance on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXJWO2FQ16c
You will need to set aside an hour to enjoy it. Yes, an hour. Great art requires commitment. If you find it hard to sit to sit still that long, do something that does not require your full attention, such as housework or laundry.