Steve Reich has forever cemented his place among my "favorite composers of all time" and is now placed with Gyorgy Ligeti as my two favorite composers of music ever. Reich's minimalistic music is so beautiful and clear, hearing Daniel Variations nearly bowled me over with the sheer amount of beauty. Upon listening to that song, i got the same feeling when I listened to either Ligeti's Lontano or San Francisco Polyphony...
It's a deep welling up in the heart, near the very core of being. The music speaks to you and your chest nearly bursts with every rise and fall of a tone... A note held is a breath held, and the sudden explosions and releases euphoric. Beethoven was quite right indeed in calling music a form of revelation... Few would dispute him. Indeed, I have felt all of this and more on listening to Reich and Ligeti's works... Though they occupy two different ends of the emotional spectrum.
Ligeti's music is always tinged by melancholy, and this nervous force of prickly energy (that is absolutely beautiful), whereas Reich's works are bittersweet, sad in a hopeful way, or just generally uplifting in nature. Exceptions abound of course, but the point being, Ligeti nurtures the depressed man inside of me, whilst Reich soothes the romantic sap in me. I have found myself in only one area of human activity to ever evoke a heartfelt sigh, and that is in listening to music. Whether it be the Beethoven of my youth, the Schoenberg of my second awakening, or now the Reich of my seeming maturation (highly doubtful; in essence, I know nothing), music (and a good novel! Can't neglect the other half of my creative side!) has been able to bring a semblance of peace to my countenance. I am sure others share this similar disposition.
I won't create a long and highly-reflective journal post, as is my usual wont, but I will suffice in saying that those who read this who are as interested in making and listening to music as I am (and to come to this lonely corner of the web you probably are rather interested):
For the contemporary listener of music, things seem like they are in a great state of flux... The past is there but unchanging and static, and therefore, ignored. The future is feared and ridiculed, because the people who look to the future are to ensconced with their own dreams of grandeur to recognize that they have no clue where they are going. The listener can and should respect the past, and be mindful of the future and the changes it might bring which he or she may like. However, it is in the present in which one lives, and therefore, the present must be paid with the utmost attention, because it touches our lives most immediately. Don't wish for a bygone age, or prepare for a revolution that will never come, but rather, when one lives for the now and all what that comes to mean, things have a sweeter shine to them, and the sun comes up a bit faster and a bit brighter.