New York Counterpoint

From Wind Repertory Project
Steve Reich

Steve Reich

Subtitle: For Clarinet and Tape or Clarinet Ensemble

General Info

Year: 1986 / 2010?
Duration: c. 11:25
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes
Cost: Parts Only - Unknown    |   Score and Solo Part (print) - $70.00

Movements (played without pause)

1. Fast – 5:00
2. Slow – 2:45
3. Fast – 3:40


Full Score
Solo B-flat Soprano Clarinet (live)

Tape or Ensemble:

B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III-IV-V-VI-VII-VIII (VIII doubling B-flat Bass Clarinet)
B-flat Bass Clarinet I-II


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

New York Counterpoint was commissioned by The Fromm Music Foundation for clarinettist Richard Stolzman. It was composed during the summer of 1985. The duration is about 11 minutes.

The piece is a continuation of the ideas found in Vermont Counterpoint (1982), where as soloist plays against a pre-recorded tape of themselves. In New York Counterpoint the soloist pre-records ten clarinet and bass clarinet parts and then plays a final 11th part live against the tape.

The compositional procedures include several that occur in my earlier music. The opening pulses ultimately come from the opening of Music for 18 Musicians (1976). The use of interlocking repeated melodic patterns played by multiples of the same instrument can be found in my earliest works, Piano Phase (for 2 pianos or 2 marimbas) and Violin Phase (for 4 violins) both from 1967. In the nature of the patterns, their combination harmonically, and in the faster rate of change, the piece reflects my recent works, particularly Sextet (1985).

New York Counterpoint is in three movements: fast, slow, fast, played one after the other without pause. The change of tempo is abrupt and in the simple relation of 1:2. The piece is in the meter 3/2 = 6/4 (=12/8). As is often the case when I write in this meter, there is an ambiguity between whether one hears measures of three groups of four eight notes, or four groups of three eight notes. In the last movement of New York Counterpoint the bass clarinets function to accent first one and then the other of these possibilities while the upper clarinets essentially do not change. The effect, by change of accent, is to vary the perception of that which in fact is not changing.

- Program note by composer


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Reich, S. (1986). New York Counterpoint [score]. Boosey & Hawkes: New York.
  • Steve Reich website