Steve Reich on Isolation During the Pandemic

Source: NPR.

But I see what you are driving at is the nature of the piece, “Traveler’s Prayer.” In any traditional Jewish Hebrew prayer book there’s a travelers prayer called “wayfarer’s prayer” or “traveler’s prayer,” And it’s something you would say getting onto an airplane or taking a longer car trip. I am not using the body of that prayer. But in various prayer books there are additional verses taken either from the Torah or Psalms, that seem appropriate and that are sometimes added, sometimes not, some of which I’ve been attracted to for years. As a matter of fact, two of three texts appeared in WTC 9/11. So they are things I’m fond of.

Part of the reason for writing the piece is I’m 83 years old. And the travel, of course, can be from New York to California and it can also be from this life to the next, whatever that turns out to be. That was hovering in the back of my mind and was definitely a factor motivating me to do it in the first place. When this all hit, thoughts of mortality are broadcast daily. So that made me feel this piece was, unbeknownst to me, becoming very relevant to the time. But it was not the original [thought]. As very often happens, circumstances will arise unforeseen, and cast a different light on what you’re doing.