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Daniel Variations

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  • Steve Reich Wins 2013 BBVA Foundation Award

    Composer Steve Reich is the winner of the 2013 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Contemporary Music category. The jury citation describes how the American composer has developed "a new concept of music, based on the use of realist elements from the realm of daily life and others drawn from the traditional music of Africa and Asia." The jury notes: "Steve Reich has carved out new paths, fostering a dialogue between popular and high culture and between western modernity and non-European traditions, and achieving a rich combination of complexity and transparency.” 

  • Barbican to Present "Explorations: The Sound of Nonesuch Records" Marathon Weekend, May 17 & 18, 2014

    The Barbican's 2014 marathon weekend, May 17 and 18, will celebrate Nonesuch Records in the label's 50th anniversary year. Entitled Explorations: The Sound of Nonesuch Records, this curated weekend of events includes five concerts taking place in LSO St Luke's, Guildhall School's new Milton Court Concert Hall, and the Barbican Hall, with performances from Jonny Greenwood, Kronos Quartet, Brad Mehldau, Timo Andres, Sam Amidon, Natalie Merchant, Rhiannon Giddens, Olivia Chaney, and others performing works by Greenwood, Mehldau, Andres, Steve Reich, John Adams, Philip Glass, Frederic Rzewski, Henryk Górecki, Donnacha Dennehy, and more. Satellite events will include Kronos at 40 (May 13) and Jeremy Denk (May 24) with further events to be announced.

About this Album

Nonesuch releases an album with two Steve Reich compositions—Daniel Variations and Variations for Vibes, Pianos, and Strings. Daniel Variations—a tribute to the murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl—is performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale and conducted by Grant Gershon. Variation for Vibes, Pianos, and Strings was originally composed for use in a new piece by choreographer Akram Khan; the London Sinfonietta, led by Alan Pierson, performs it on this recording.
Reich explains: “Daniel Variations is in four movements using texts from the Biblical book of Daniel for the first and third movements and from the words of Daniel Pearl, the American Jewish reporter, kidnapped and murdered by Islamist extremists in Pakistan in 2002, for the second and fourth movements.” The texts/movements are:

1. I saw a dream. Images upon my bed & visions in my head frightened me (Daniel 4:2, or 4:5 in Christian translations)

2. My name is Daniel Pearl (I'm a Jewish American from Encino, California)

3. Let the dream fall back on the dreaded (Daniel 4:16, or 4:19 in Christian translations)

4. I sure hope Gabriel likes my music, when the day is done.

The piece is scored for two sopranos and two tenors with two B-flat clarinets, four vibes, bass and kick drums, tam-tam, four pianos, and string quartet. It was co-commissioned by the Barbican Centre in London, Carnegie Hall in New York, Cité de la Musique in Paris, Casa de Musica in Porto, Portugal, and in memory of Daniel Pearl by an anonymous donor in association with Meet The Composer and the Daniel Pearl Foundation, which is dedicated to cross-cultural understanding and music. Daniel Variations was premiered at the Barbican in London in 2006 as part of Steve Reich’s 70th birthday celebration.Variations for Vibes, Pianos, and Strings was premiered in Köln, also in 2006, with choreography by leading British dancer and choreographer Akram Khan—performed by Khan’s company. Reich says: “This piece is scored for four vibraphones, two pianos, and three string quartets. The silver sound of vibraphones and strings together that I first encountered in The Four Sections (1987) suggested itself as the main overall sound of this piece. Variations for Vibes, Pianos, and Strings is a more traditional set of variations than You Are (Variations) (2004), which preceded it.”


Daniel Variations
Los Angeles Master Chorale
Grant Gershon, conductor
Tania Batson, Karen Hogle Brown, Claire Fedoruk, Rachelle Fox, Marie Hodgson, Emily Lin, sopranos
Pablo Corá, Jody Golightly, Shawn Kirchner, Michael Lichtenauer, Kevin St. Clair, George Sterne, tenors
Gary Bovyer, Michael Grego, clarinet
Gloria Cheng, Vicki Ray, Bryan Pezzone, Lisa Edwards, pianos
Wade Culbreath, Theresa Dimond, Michael Englander, John Magnussen, Thomas Raney, Mark Zimoski, percussion
Ralph Morrison, Tereza Stanislav, violins
Eugene Moye, cello
Kazi Pitelka, viola
Steve Scharf, contractor
Bob Dolan, music librarian

Variations for Vibes, Pianos, & Strings
London Sinfonietta
Alan Pierson, conductor
Quartet 1: David Alberman, Jonathan Morton, violins; Paul Silverthorne, viola; Timothy Gill, cello
Quartet 2: Joan Atherton, Simon Smith, violins; Jane Atkins viola; Lionel Handy cello
Quartet 3: Miranda Fulleylove, Elizabeth Wexler, violins; James Boyd, viola; Sally Pendlebury, cello
John Constable, Shelagh Sutherland, pianos
David Hockings, Owen Gunnell, Sam Walton, Alex Neal, vibes

Produced by Judith Sherman

Daniel Variations
Recorded February 27 & 28, 2007, at Studio A, Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA
Engineered by John Kilgore
Mixed by John Kilgore, Judith Sherman, and Steve Reich at John Kilgore Sound, NYC
Second Engineer: Charles Paakkari
Studio Assistance: Bruce Monical and Paul Smith

Variations for Vibes, Pianos, & Strings
Recorded December 18 & 19, 2006, at AIR Studios, Lyndhurst Hall, London, England
Engineered by John Kilgore
Second Engineer: Chris Barrett
Mixed by John Kilgore, Judith Sherman, and Steve Reich at John Kilgore Sound, NYC

Mastered by Robert C. Ludwig at Gateway Mastering Studios, Portland, ME

Design by Barbara DeWilde
Cover photograph by Fogstock/Jupiter Images

Executive Producer: Robert Hurwitz

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