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Ensemble Intercontemporain|Steve Reich: Reich/Richter

Steve Reich: Reich/Richter

Ensemble intercontemporain & George Jackson

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Nonesuch Records has surprised us twice with this Reich/Richter recording. The label, which has been producing all the first world recordings of Steve Reich's works since 1985, had until now only entrusted the composer's creations to American ensembles, mostly from New York—an aesthetic choice that is entirely understandable in view of the historical links between the minimalist genre and the city. We will therefore not hide our surprise to see this time a French formation, the Ensemble InterContemporain, at the controls. It is also a surprise because Reich/Richter, originally conceived as a transdisciplinary work combining music and scenic audiovisuals of Gerhard Richter's paintings, was only meant to be performed in concert, Reich himself having often insisted on this point in interviews. We don't know what made the dean of reiterative music reconsider, but there's no need in playing the spoilsport; let's rejoice in this change of mind! As for the writing, Reich follows an almost unchanged recipe of the past several years (2016's Runner, 2018's Music for Ensemble and Orchestra), or the mythical and much older Music for 18 Musicians (1976). We know the music: jerky sixteenth notes on pianos and vibraphones, while strings and winds stretch out in slow breaths. Yet, it results in the same magic and hypnosis that acts on our ears. Once again Reich demonstrates his unique style, which has lost nothing of its innovative character. On the harmonic level, one can spot slight innovations—sublime because they are discreet—such as sumptuous chromatisms carried by the flutes and clarinets which merge with the rest of the orchestra. More than ever, Reich practices a subtle art of fusion between timbres and notes, each motif seeming to be born and to die in a single movement. One has to admire the impeccable performance of the InterContemporain, the perfect balance between the different instrumental bodies and the sound planes, all conducted with a masterly hand by George Jackson. © Pierre Lamy/Qobuz

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Steve Reich: Reich/Richter

Ensemble Intercontemporain

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1
Reich/Richter: Opening
00:09:08

George Jackson, Conductor, MainArtist - Steve Reich, Composer - Ensemble InterContemporain, Orchestra, MainArtist - Vincent Villetard, Engineer - Radio France - France Musique, Producer

© 2022 Nonesuch Records Inc. ℗ 2022 Ensemble intercontemporain and Radio France, under exclusive license to Nonesuch Records Inc.

2
Reich/Richter: Patterns & scales
00:10:03

George Jackson, Conductor, MainArtist - Steve Reich, Composer - Ensemble InterContemporain, Orchestra, MainArtist - Vincent Villetard, Engineer - Radio France - France Musique, Producer

© 2022 Nonesuch Records Inc. ℗ 2022 Ensemble intercontemporain and Radio France, under exclusive license to Nonesuch Records Inc.

3
Reich/Richter: Cross fades
00:12:52

George Jackson, Conductor, MainArtist - Steve Reich, Composer - Ensemble InterContemporain, Orchestra, MainArtist - Vincent Villetard, Engineer - Radio France - France Musique, Producer

© 2022 Nonesuch Records Inc. ℗ 2022 Ensemble intercontemporain and Radio France, under exclusive license to Nonesuch Records Inc.

4
Reich/Richter: Ending
00:04:34

George Jackson, Conductor, MainArtist - Steve Reich, Composer - Ensemble InterContemporain, Orchestra, MainArtist - Vincent Villetard, Engineer - Radio France - France Musique, Producer

© 2022 Nonesuch Records Inc. ℗ 2022 Ensemble intercontemporain and Radio France, under exclusive license to Nonesuch Records Inc.

Album review

Nonesuch Records has surprised us twice with this Reich/Richter recording. The label, which has been producing all the first world recordings of Steve Reich's works since 1985, had until now only entrusted the composer's creations to American ensembles, mostly from New York—an aesthetic choice that is entirely understandable in view of the historical links between the minimalist genre and the city. We will therefore not hide our surprise to see this time a French formation, the Ensemble InterContemporain, at the controls. It is also a surprise because Reich/Richter, originally conceived as a transdisciplinary work combining music and scenic audiovisuals of Gerhard Richter's paintings, was only meant to be performed in concert, Reich himself having often insisted on this point in interviews. We don't know what made the dean of reiterative music reconsider, but there's no need in playing the spoilsport; let's rejoice in this change of mind! As for the writing, Reich follows an almost unchanged recipe of the past several years (2016's Runner, 2018's Music for Ensemble and Orchestra), or the mythical and much older Music for 18 Musicians (1976). We know the music: jerky sixteenth notes on pianos and vibraphones, while strings and winds stretch out in slow breaths. Yet, it results in the same magic and hypnosis that acts on our ears. Once again Reich demonstrates his unique style, which has lost nothing of its innovative character. On the harmonic level, one can spot slight innovations—sublime because they are discreet—such as sumptuous chromatisms carried by the flutes and clarinets which merge with the rest of the orchestra. More than ever, Reich practices a subtle art of fusion between timbres and notes, each motif seeming to be born and to die in a single movement. One has to admire the impeccable performance of the InterContemporain, the perfect balance between the different instrumental bodies and the sound planes, all conducted with a masterly hand by George Jackson. © Pierre Lamy/Qobuz

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