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Classical - Released September 10, 2010 | Nonesuch

Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
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Classical - Released February 2, 2018 | Nonesuch

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Classical - Released September 13, 2005 | Nonesuch

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Classical - Released September 30, 2014 | Nonesuch

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Classical - Released April 25, 2000 | Nonesuch - WBR

Classical - Released May 26, 2017 | Classic Records

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Classical - Released September 20, 2005 | Nonesuch

Although Reich's music during the '80s, as he gained in popularity, was increasingly written for larger, lusher ensembles (with, oftentimes, the concomitant loss of "edge"), he occasionally and happily reverted to more contained compositions such as those included here. "Sextet" is pared down to four percussionists and two keyboardists (the latter including synthesizers) and evokes early pieces of Reich's Drumming while incorporating his ongoing use of longer melodic lines. In five sections, it tends toward a buoyant and jazzy bubbliness, percolating with all manner of busy interaction and wonderfully intermeshed rhythms. One of the new techniques employed is having the vibraphonists bow their instruments, generating long, ghostly tones reminiscent of musical saws but cleaner and more precise. Since this cannot be done quickly, Reich writes patterns that interweave between performers, achieving a kind of hocketing effect where, by playing only every third or fourth note in a rhythmic line, the ensemble can produce what the listener perceives as a fast tempo even as each individual is playing slowly. The closing section is pure effervescent bliss. "Six Marimbas," scored for, unsurprisingly, six marimbas, sounds even closer to the pieces that originally brought Reich to renown and is, in fact, a rescoring of his "Six Pianos" from 1973. The pure, luscious tones of the marimbas make it even more successful than the original and the work is played with obvious delight and rigor by the percussion ensemble Nexus, who includes several members of Reich's working band of the early '70s. In sum, Sextet/Six Marimbas is one of the finest releases of mid-career Reich, entirely without the pretensions that marred some of his other work from the period, and is highly recommended. ~ Brian Olewnick
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Classical - Released September 13, 2005 | Nonesuch

This recording brings together three disparate styles on one record showcasing Reich's compositional work. Opening with "Proverb," a piece for voices and a mixed ensemble, the disc begins on a somber note. The complete text of the piece is the following line from Ludwig Wittgenstein: "How small a thought it takes to fill a whole life!" This line is sung very, very slowly, note by note with style and chord structure hearkening back to medieval harmonization. Electric organs double the singers. The centerpiece of the record is "Nagoya Marimbas," with a sound reminiscent of Reich's marimba work from the '60s and '70s, and for fans of this era of Reich's work it is a pleasant surprise to hear another piece in this style again. Marimba parts themselves are significantly more complex here, showing Reich's continuing development even when returning to old haunts. The final piece, "City Life," is a kickback to an earlier composition style, utilizing sounds in the natural environment (or in this case the urban environment) to generate musical material. Rather than using manipulated magnetic tape, however, Reich uses what he calls the "extended idea of prepared piano" -- the electronic keyboard sampler. Unlike experiments using tape, this piece was recorded live and can be easily reproduced live on-stage. Sampled sounds come in the form of speeches at political rallies, car horns, pile drivers, and sounds from fire-department radios during the first World Trade Center bombing. Using a car horn to replace the sound of a clarinet is, it must be said, pretty darn cool. This record shows Reich playing with different styles -- it is a transitional point in his career -- which leaves the cohesiveness of the recording off-balanced. But seeing the forest for three different kinds of trees, the new works are exciting and musically satisfying. ~ Mark W. B. Allender
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Classical - Released November 4, 1985 | ECM New Series

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Classical - Released September 18, 2006 | Nonesuch

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Classical - Released September 12, 2011 | Nonesuch

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Classical - Released October 2, 2001 | Nonesuch - WBR

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Classical - Released September 13, 2005 | Nonesuch

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Classical - Released February 2, 2018 | Nonesuch

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Classical - Released September 13, 2005 | Nonesuch

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Classical - Released September 13, 2005 | Nonesuch

Steve Reich has always been at the forefront of technology while preserving his love for acoustic instruments. Three Tales is a collaboration with the cinematic artistry of Beryl Korot, and marries the worlds of historical events and Reich's minimalist and multi-layered combination of musics with the psychodrama of digital visual possibilities. Reich, in the liner notes, dismisses the idea that he is embracing new media while simultaneously scoffing at the "advances" of humankind as sensationalized by the news in today's manic society. Instead he is -- more than at any other time in his career -- telling broad-reaching stories with the full spectrum of his German/Jewish/African-influenced music, words, and image-driven scenarios that are burned in our brains, but never before in this particular light. The triad of accounts, which definitely act as a connected suite, relate to the horrific disaster of the torched Hindenburg blimp; the religious and vengeful connections between the Biblical tale of Adam and Eve, Hiroshima and the atomic bombs, and the invention of the two-piece women's swimsuit; and the first vestiges of artificial life created in contemporary times as represented by the cloning of the famous sheep Dolly. The accompanying DVD is useful in that it does enhance the audio backdrop, though as always with Reich's unique approach, the music can easily stand alone. "Hindenburg" (with "It Could Not Have Been a Technical Matter" on the DVD) starts with a dramatic, dancing motif on pianos, string quartet, and marimba, but phases into the actual sounds of sizzling and then eruptive thermite and hydrogen reacting. It's a macabre effect as vocal commentary and layered vocals become a news actuality. The ten-part "Bikini" is an ever evolving piece, ranging from the statement "I watched it fly" to strings sighing; a probing, insistent chorale in mixed meters; a gigantic mushroom chorale; settled and apologetic strings; an implied march; the rhythmic noise of countdown; more strident strings; and a post-horror aftermath of shock, dismay, and indignation. Whether resolute or not, this 22-and-a-half-minute piece really sets one's thought process into tilt-a-whirl mode. "Dolly" has an insular feeling, with multiple commentaries from scientists on the vagaries, possible consequences, and unlimited possibilities cell division and multiplication might lead to in the future. There's a clear choral homage to birth, processed percussive statements of the "human body machine" turned faceless, phased and echoed audio images of Charles Darwin's theorems, the thought that "every creature has a song," and the lengthy concluding coda where technology is a constant of evolution, but to its detriment, turned into intelligent machinery as phased and layered notions of controlling robotics, cyborg beings, and ultimate immortality end with the idea that this is "bringing up a baby the hard way." Throughout this program, Reich's central musical themes are always present, either exploding, providing a triptych through not only his witty modern music but the linear path of life, or expressing self-doubt through a vision of both caution and bravery. The most reliable members of Reich's longstanding large ensembles are here, including percussionists Bob Becker, Russ Hartenberger, Garry Kvistad, and James L. Preiss, mainly on marimba and vibes. The Synergy vocal ensemble add all the theatrics possible, while veteran pianists Edmund Niemann and Nurit Tilles stand fast in their role to drive this music into the 21st century. Three Tales is yet another stunning accomplishment in Steve Reich's illustrious career, but these descriptions can never really do it justice. Please, when you purchase this item, take your time in watching, listening, and reflecting on how the human condition (in both its depth and shallowness) and its feats, tragedies, triumphs, and consequences still steadfastly allow us to retain hope and optimism for a better world. ~ Michael G. Nastos

Classical - Released October 22, 2013 | LABMUSIC

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Classical - Released September 26, 2014 | Nonesuch

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Classical - Released February 15, 2008 | Nonesuch

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Classical - Released December 6, 2005 | Nonesuch