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Rethinking Reich$
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Sumanth Gopinath and Pwyll ap Siôn

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190605285

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190605285.001.0001

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Steve Reich’s Dramatic Sound Collage for the Harlem Six

Steve Reich’s Dramatic Sound Collage for the Harlem Six

Toward a Prehistory of Come Out

(p.139) 6 Steve Reich’s Dramatic Sound Collage for the Harlem Six
Rethinking Reich

John Pymm

Oxford University Press

Steve Reich’s Come Out was produced for a benefit concert at Town Hall, New York, in April 1966, aimed at raising funds to pay for independent lawyers for a retrial of the Harlem Six following a miscarriage of justice. Come Out was one of two works by Reich performed on that occasion, the other being a much longer sound collage—Harlem’s Six Condemned—created as part of a dramatization of Truman Nelson’s The Torture of Mothers. The recording of Harlem’s Six Condemned—unheard publicly since 1966—is now available in the Steve Reich Collection at the Paul Sacher Stiftung, Basel. This chapter argues that a close reading of Reich’s sound collage offers a perspective on Come Out that has been increasingly lost in the time since the benefit concert. A deeper understanding of Come Out will be gained by tracing its prehistory and setting a broader context for its appreciation.

Keywords:   Steve Reich, Come Out, sound collage, Music and narrative, auteur, dramatization, transcription, speech recording, speech melody

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