News & Reviews
- Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Alarm Will Sound Performs New Works by Steve Reich, Donnacha Dennehy; Dennehy Named Fort Worth Symphony Composer-in-Residence
Alarm Will Sound will perform a program of new works, featuring Steve Reich's Radio Rewrite and scenes from Donnacha Dennehy's The Hunger, at Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis on Wednesday. The group gave the US premiere of Radio Rewrite at Stanford University last Saturday and gives the NY premiere of The Hunger at Carnegie Hall on April 6. Dennehy has been named composer-in-residence for the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra next season, which will include performances of his That the Night Come. Crash Ensemble and Dawn Upshaw will perform the piece at The Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall this May.
- Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Steve Reich's "Radio Rewrite" to Receive World Premiere, Broadcast Live on BBC Radio 3 "Live in Concert"
Radio Rewrite, Steve Reich’s new ensemble work, which draws inspiration from songs by Radiohead, will be premiered at the Royal Festival Hall in London tonight, travelling with the London Sinfonietta to Birmingham, Brighton, and Glasgow this week. The all-Reich program opens with the composer in Clapping Music, and also includes Electric Counterpoint, 2x5, and Double Sextet. Tonight's concert will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3's Live in Concert. Alarm Will Sound gives the first US performances of Radio Rewrite at Stanford Live and Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis later this month.
About this Album
1998 Grammy Award Winner
At the close of the 1970s, the New York Times declared Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians one of the ten most important works of that decade. But the passage of time has proven that inaccurate. As K. Robert Schwartz writes in his liner notes, it is “one of the handful of late-twentieth-century works that can rightly claim to have altered the course of Western music.”
Twenty-two years after its first release on vinyl, Steve Reich and Musicians deliver a new recording of Music for 18 Musicians on Nonesuch Records. Originally offered as a volume within the composer’s 10-CD retrospective box set last year, 18 is now available as a single CD with graphics and liner notes prepared expressly for this issue.
Reich himself admits that 18 marks a “high point” in his thirty-year career. “It’s undoubtedly one of the best pieces I’ve ever done. Sometimes everything just comes together and suddenly you’ve created this wonderful organism, and in this piece it happened. That accounts for its durability. but it also has a real structural backbone, so it continues to please me twenty years later.”
The product of virtually continuous work from May 1974 to March 1976, 18 was finished when Reich was nearly forty, and reflects numerous influences that had made their mark on the composer’s life up to that point: bebop and Balinese gamelan, African drumming and modal jazz, the melismas of Perotin and the scat-singing of Ella Fitzgerald. These elements came together to define Reich’s essential harmonic language, one that had evolved well beyond the austere and reductive so-called minimalism of his earlier pieces.
Along with the benefit of digital recording, this new 18 features many of the very same musicians that participated in its first recording as well as many of its concert performances over the last two decades: a team that could be said, over time, to have osmotically absorbed every nuance this richly-detailed score has to offer. A tempo change in the new album—governed by the breathing pattern of the clarinetist—has resulted in a version eleven minutes longer than the original. Some harmonic reinterpretation may be noted as well.
Music for 18 Musicians has influenced a whole generation of young composers, as well as a legion of pop musicians. As much as ever, it remains an alluring marvel of coloristic shimmer and an evocation of non-Western music, of classical music, and of jazz—without sounding like any of them. Viewing it from a modest historical distance, is it still absurd to label it a minimalist work? Steve Reich replies, “Yes, I think it is. You can apply minimalism to 18 if you want, but what you’re really hearing is that whole phenomenon—at least in any recognizable, strict form—fade away into the distance.”
Steve Reich, marimba, piano
Rebecca Armstrong, Marion Beckenstein, Cheryl Bensman Rowe, sopranos
Jay Clayton, alto, piano
Russell Hartenberger, Bob Becker, Tim Ferchen marimbas, xylophones
James Preiss, vibraphones, piano
Garry Kvistad, marimba, xylophone, piano
Thad Wheeler, marimba, maracas
Nurit Tilles, Edmund Niemann, pianos
Philip Bush, piano, maracas
Elizabeth Lim, violin
Jeanne LeBlanc, cello
Leslie Scott, Evan Ziporyn, clarinets, bass clarinets
Produced by Judith Sherman
Recorded October 1996 at the Hit Factory, New York City
Engineered by John Kigore
Assistant Engineers: Glen Marchese, Chris Hilt
Mixed November 1996 and January 1997 at the Hit Factory, New York City
Assistant Mix Engineers: Tony Black, Greg Thompson
Production Assistants: Sidney Chen, Jeanne Velonis
Design by John Gall
Cover Photo by Fumio Kurasakai/Photonica
Executive Producer: Robert Hurwitz