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Steve Reich's "WTC 9/11" Featured on NPR's Weekend Edition; Final Day for First Listen

Steve Reich: "WTC 9/11 / Mallet Quartet / Dance Patterns" [cover]

Steve Reich's new piece, WTC 9/11, which reflects on the World Trade Center attacks of September 11, 2001, was featured on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday yesterday, in the show's coverage of the tenth anniversary of the attacks. In the segment, the composer tells Weekend Edition the story behind the piece, which began with a commission from Kronos Quartet, which performs WTC 9/11 on the forthcoming album of the same name. You can hear the interview and, for one more day, listen to the entire album—which also includes Reich's Mallet Quartet, performed by Sō Percussion, and Dance Patterns, performed by members of Steve Reich and Musicians—streaming in full as an NPR First Listen, at npr.org.

The California Report, from NPR member station KQED, featured the piece on the show's latest episode, on Friday. Host Scott Shafer spoke with both Steve Reich and Kronos Quartet's founder, artistic director, and violinist David Harrington about WTC 9/11. You can listen to the segment, along with an extended interview with Harrington and a web-exclusive interview with Reich at californiareport.org.

The Seattle Times calls WTC 9/11 "a stunning work." Times arts writer Michael Upchurch explains: "I'm a skeptic when it comes to classical music adequately memorializing dire events. But with WTC 9/11, Reich shows at least one way it can be done." Upchurch goes on to call Mallet Quartet "intricate, ebullient, propulsive, sublime. It's stellar, vibrant Reich." Read the complete review at seattletimes.nwsource.com.

Sequenza21 contributor Christian Carey weighs in as well with an album review. "At around fifteen minutes long, WTC 9/11 is a terser utterance than one might imagine as a response to an event with such far-reaching consequences," writes Carey. "But in so crafting it, Reich has recaptured some of the blunt force trauma to our nation’s psyche in the days following the initial event. He’s also avoided some of the overt sentimentality that other artworks commemorating 9/11 have been unwilling to forgo.  It is this quality that gives WTC 9/11 a potent dramatic heft that, though jarring at times, proves taut and unflinchingly eloquent." Read the complete album review at sequenza21.com.

Kronos Quartet's performance of WTC 9/11 is available now as a digital EP. To pre-order the full album, with Mallet Quartet and Dance Patterns, due out September 20, head to the Nonesuch Store, where orders include a free download of the title piece now and the complete album starting September 20.

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Steve Reich helped kick off the ninth annual Sacrum Profanum festival in Kraków, Poland, last night joining Ensemble Modern for an all-Reich program that included Daniel Variations, Music for 18 Musicians, and Electric Counterpoint, which was performed by special guest Jonny Greenwood.

Tonight, the festival includes two concerts. In the first, Alarm Will Sound, led by conductor Alan Pierson, will perform four works by John AdamsCoast, Chamber Symphony, Short Ride in a Fast Machine, and Son of Chamber Symphony, which is featured on his latest album. Later tonight, Ensemble Modern returns to perform Steve Reich's 2001 collaboration with video artist Beryl Korot, Three Tales, their cautionary multimedia triptych about 20th-century technological advances. The latter concert will broadcast live on Polish Radio 2.

The music continues all week. For more information, read Friday's Nonesuch Journal article on the festival.

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