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  • Friday, February 2, 2018
    Steve Reich's New Album, "Pulse / Quartet" Out Now; Vinyl Due March 30

    Steve Reich's Pulse / Quartet is now available on CD and digitally from Nonesuch Records, with the vinyl to come on March 30. To pick up a copy, head to your local music store, iTunes, Amazon, or the Nonesuch Store, where CD orders and vinyl pre-orders include a download of the complete album at checkout. You can also listen to the album on Spotify and Apple Music.

    The Los Angeles Times notes the "lyricism, gorgeous instrumental textures and affecting harmonies" of Pulse, and the New York Times says of Quartet: "Written for two vibraphones and two pianos, Quartet is Mr. Reich's first piece for those two instruments alone, and the combination is ingenious and seductive, and deployed with subtle craftsmanship." The A.V. Club says they're "as sparkling and entrancing as everything else Reich has set his unique mind to."

    "When Steve Reich revives iconic pieces, tickets tend to sell briskly," says the New York Times in featuring Pulse among "The 8 Best Classical Music Moments of the Week. "But no one should overlook his newer works."

    The Quietus exclaims: "The great 20th-century composer is also a great 21st-century composer, as we’re reminded on this remarkable new release."

    "At 80, Reich continues to challenge the idea of what music can be," says the Irish Times in a four-star review, noting "the great composer’s towering influence on all the music that has followed in his wake." The albums earns four stars from the Independent as well.

    On the new album, Pulse (2015) is performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)—an artist collective committed to transforming the way music is created and experienced—and Quartet (2013) is played by the Colin Currie Group, an ensemble led by percussionist Colin Currie that specializes in the music of Steve Reich; these are also the ensembles that gave the world premiere performances of the respective works.

    Reich says, "Pulse, for winds, strings, piano and electric bass, was completed in 2015 and was, in part, a reaction to Quartet, in which I changed keys more frequently than in any previous work. In Pulse I felt the need to stay put harmonically and spin out smoother wind and string melodic lines in canon over a constant pulse in the electric bass and or piano. From time to time this constant pulse is accented differently through changing hand alternation patterns on the piano. All in all, a calmer more contemplative piece."

    He continues, "Quartet, when mentioned in the context of concert music, is generally assumed to mean string quartet. In my case, the quartet that has played a central role in many of my pieces (besides the string quartet) is that of two pianos and two percussion. It appears like that or in expanded form with more pianos or more percussion in The Desert Music; Sextet; Three Movements; The Four Sections; The Cave; Dance Patterns; Three Tales; You Are (Variations); Variations for Vibes, Pianos and Strings; Daniel Variations; Double Sextet; and Radio Rewrite. In Quartet, there is just this group alone: two vibes and two pianos.

    "The piece is one of the more complex I have composed. It frequently changes key and often breaks off continuity to pause or take up new material. Though the parts are not unduly difficult, it calls for a high level of ensemble virtuosity. The form is one familiar throughout history: fast, slow, fast, played without pause. The slow movement introduces harmonies not usually found in my music."

    Steve Reich has been called "our greatest living composer" (New York Times) and "the most original musical thinker of our time" (New Yorker). His path has embraced not only Western Classical music, but the structures, harmonies, and rhythms of non-Western and American vernacular music, particularly jazz. "There's just a handful of living composers who can legitimately claim to have altered the direction of musical history and Steve Reich is one of them," states the Guardian. In April 2009 Steve Reich was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his composition Double Sextet. Nonesuch has released twenty-three Steve Reich albums, beginning in 1985 with The Desert Music and including two box sets; his most recent album was Radio Rewrite (2014).

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Steve Reich's New Album, "Pulse / Quartet" Out Now; Vinyl Due March 30

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on February 2, 2018 - 10:00am
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Friday, February 2, 2018 - 10:00
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Steve Reich's Pulse / Quartet is now available on CD and digitally, with the vinyl to come on March 30. Pulse is performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), and Quartet is played by the Colin Currie Group. The Los Angeles Times notes the "lyricism, gorgeous instrumental textures and affecting harmonies" of Pulse, and the New York Times says of Quartet: "Written for two vibraphones and two pianos, Quartet is Mr. Reich's first piece for those two instruments alone, and the combination is ingenious and seductive, and deployed with subtle craftsmanship."

Copy: 

Steve Reich's Pulse / Quartet is now available on CD and digitally from Nonesuch Records, with the vinyl to come on March 30. To pick up a copy, head to your local music store, iTunes, Amazon, or the Nonesuch Store, where CD orders and vinyl pre-orders include a download of the complete album at checkout. You can also listen to the album on Spotify and Apple Music.

The Los Angeles Times notes the "lyricism, gorgeous instrumental textures and affecting harmonies" of Pulse, and the New York Times says of Quartet: "Written for two vibraphones and two pianos, Quartet is Mr. Reich's first piece for those two instruments alone, and the combination is ingenious and seductive, and deployed with subtle craftsmanship." The A.V. Club says they're "as sparkling and entrancing as everything else Reich has set his unique mind to."

"When Steve Reich revives iconic pieces, tickets tend to sell briskly," says the New York Times in featuring Pulse among "The 8 Best Classical Music Moments of the Week. "But no one should overlook his newer works."

The Quietus exclaims: "The great 20th-century composer is also a great 21st-century composer, as we’re reminded on this remarkable new release."

"At 80, Reich continues to challenge the idea of what music can be," says the Irish Times in a four-star review, noting "the great composer’s towering influence on all the music that has followed in his wake." The albums earns four stars from the Independent as well.

On the new album, Pulse (2015) is performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)—an artist collective committed to transforming the way music is created and experienced—and Quartet (2013) is played by the Colin Currie Group, an ensemble led by percussionist Colin Currie that specializes in the music of Steve Reich; these are also the ensembles that gave the world premiere performances of the respective works.

Reich says, "Pulse, for winds, strings, piano and electric bass, was completed in 2015 and was, in part, a reaction to Quartet, in which I changed keys more frequently than in any previous work. In Pulse I felt the need to stay put harmonically and spin out smoother wind and string melodic lines in canon over a constant pulse in the electric bass and or piano. From time to time this constant pulse is accented differently through changing hand alternation patterns on the piano. All in all, a calmer more contemplative piece."

He continues, "Quartet, when mentioned in the context of concert music, is generally assumed to mean string quartet. In my case, the quartet that has played a central role in many of my pieces (besides the string quartet) is that of two pianos and two percussion. It appears like that or in expanded form with more pianos or more percussion in The Desert Music; Sextet; Three Movements; The Four Sections; The Cave; Dance Patterns; Three Tales; You Are (Variations); Variations for Vibes, Pianos and Strings; Daniel Variations; Double Sextet; and Radio Rewrite. In Quartet, there is just this group alone: two vibes and two pianos.

"The piece is one of the more complex I have composed. It frequently changes key and often breaks off continuity to pause or take up new material. Though the parts are not unduly difficult, it calls for a high level of ensemble virtuosity. The form is one familiar throughout history: fast, slow, fast, played without pause. The slow movement introduces harmonies not usually found in my music."

Steve Reich has been called "our greatest living composer" (New York Times) and "the most original musical thinker of our time" (New Yorker). His path has embraced not only Western Classical music, but the structures, harmonies, and rhythms of non-Western and American vernacular music, particularly jazz. "There's just a handful of living composers who can legitimately claim to have altered the direction of musical history and Steve Reich is one of them," states the Guardian. In April 2009 Steve Reich was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his composition Double Sextet. Nonesuch has released twenty-three Steve Reich albums, beginning in 1985 with The Desert Music and including two box sets; his most recent album was Radio Rewrite (2014).

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Steve Reich: "Pulse / Quartet" [cover]

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