Source: The Complete Classical Music Guide (2012). General Editor: John Burrows OBE HonRCM, edited with Charles Wiffen. p. 297 Bottom Right.


Reich’s effect on musical culture is perhaps not as great as Philip Glass’s, although within classical circles his influence may be greater, owing to the modernist rigor of his music. Nonetheless, his characteristic pattering, marimba-and-winds sound has managed to spread further, appearing on pop remix albums

What does 'modernist rigor' signify here? Is Reich somehow more Minimalist than Glass?

  • 'Rigor' usually implies 'refusal to compromise', and in this context, would probably mean 'refusal to be commercial'. Not able to comment from musical POV as I only known a few pieces by either composer, but perhaps someone with more knowledge of the actual music can take the idea and craft an answer.
    – Angst
    Jun 9, 2018 at 11:30

1 Answer 1


I am no expert on Reich's music, but his Music For 18 Musicians seems very tightly focused on the singular idea of the transformations possible in the sheer texture of sound, even given a large number of constants (such as the constant sixteenth note pulse in this song). Glass's music is more varied, and less focused, at least comparatively.

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