City Life / Proverb / Nagoya Marimbas

Submitted by nonesuch on Thu, 05/29/2008 - 19:14
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DescriptionExcerpt

These pieces from 1994 to '96, said Salon, “embody both the old and new of Reich’s music”—sampled cityscapes, fragmented text, hypnotic percussion. In the title piece, London’s Independent noted, “the immediacy is tangible, the effect is disarmingly beautiful.”

Description

Internationally renowned composer/performer Steve Reich’s 1996 album features three new pieces, Proverb, Nagoya Marimbas, and City Life. City Life’s UK premiere inspired The Guardian to hail the five-part work as “both a magical evocation and musical landscape ... a fascinating aural fantasy, structured with great skill ... music to return to and relish.”

In City Life, Reich combines music for his ensemble with sampled sounds recorded on the streets around his New York City apartment. As performed by the Steve Reich Ensemble, conducted by Brad Lubman, the piece provides a fascinating interplay between woodwinds, strings, percussion, piano, and car alarms, street vendors, pile drivers, and heartbeats. The work is divided into five movements: “Check it out,” “Pile driver / alarms,” “It’s been a honeymoon / Can’t take no mo’,” “Heartbeats / boats & buoys,” and “Heavy Smoke.”

City Life was commissioned by the Ensemble Modern (Frankfurt), the Ensemble InterContemporain (Paris), and the London Sinfonetta, and has also been played by the three co-commissioners of the piece throughout Europe. Reich has long incorporated street noise and speech into his compositions. Such early tape pieces as It's Gonna Rain (1965) and Come Out (1966) manipulated phase relations between multiple repeating patterns. The Grammy Award–winning Different Trains (1988) introduced the use of voice-based melodies. This concept of writing music from the spoken word was presented in an operatic form with the premiere of Reich and video artist Beryl Karat’s documentary opera The Cave in 1993, a piece that helped define a new genre of musical theater.

Proverb, a composition for voices, electric organs, and vibraphones, shows the influence of medieval French composer Perotin. It contains only one phrase of text—"How small a thought it takes to fill a whole life"—from philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Paul Hillier conducts his group, Theatre of Voices, together with members of Steve Reich’s Ensemble, for this Nonesuch recording. Proverb was co-commissioned by the BBC Proms and the Utrecht Early Music Festival. It premiered as a work-in-progress in London, September 1995; the completed piece debuted in New York, February 1996. The Village Voice said of Proverb: “This was the piece you might have hoped would be written 20 years later by the same person who penned the gorgeous Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices and Organ.”

Nagoya Marimbas, an intricate piece for two marimbas, is played by long-time Reich colleagues Bob Becker and James Preiss in a virtuoso performance. It consists of frequently shifting but seldom repeated out-of-phase patterns, the whole fusing into a series of two-part unison canons. Nagoya Marimbas was commissioned by the Conservatory in Nagoya, Japan in honor of the opening of the Shirakawa Hall.

ProductionCredits

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Produced by Judith Sherman
Recorded June 1996 at the Hit Factory, New York City
Engineered by John Kilgore
Assistant Engineers: Greg Thompson, Carl Nappa (City Life)
Mixing Assistant Engineers: Geraldo Lopez (Proverb, City Life), Glen Marchese (Nagoya Marimbas, City Life)
Editing Assistants: Jeanne Velonis and Karl Heirem
Production Assistant: Sidney Chen

Design by Barbara deWilde
Cover photograph: Steve Reich, 1941

Executive Producer: Robert Hurwitz

Nonesuch Selection Number

79430

Number of Discs in Set
1disc
ns_album_artistid
92
ns_album_id
264
ns_album_releasedate
ns_genre_1
0
ns_genre_2
0
Album Status
Artist Name
Steve Reich
MusicianDetails

MUSICIANS
Proverb
Theatre of Voices:
Andrea Fullington, Sonja Rasmussen, Allison Zelles, sopranos
Alan Bennett, Paul Elliott, tenors
with members of The Steve Reich Ensemble:
Russell Hartenberger, Bob Becker, vibraphones
Nurit Tilles, Edmund Niemann, electric organs
Paul Hillier, conductor

Nagoya Marimbas
Bob Becker, James Preiss, marimbas

City Life
The Steve Reich Ensemble:
David Fedele, Gen Shin Kai, flutes
Jackie Leclair, Matthew Sullivan, oboes
Leslie Scott, Mike Lowenstern, clarinets
Russell Hartenberger, Bob Becker, vibraphones
Garry Kvistad, percussion
Nurit Tilles, Philip Bush, sampling keyboards
Edmund Neimann, Lisa Moore, pianos
Elizabeth Lim, Todd Reynolds, vioilns
Lois Martin, viola
Jeanne LeBlanc, cello
Jay Elfenbein, bass
Bradley Lubman, conductor

Cover Art
UPC/Price
Label
CD+MP3
Price
0.00
UPC
075597943023BUN
Label
MP3
Price
9.00
UPC
603497091768
  • 79430

News & Reviews

  • The first recording of Steve Reich’s Reich/Richter, performed by Ensemble intercontemporain and conducted by George Jackson, released in June on CD/digital, is now available on vinyl. The composition was originally written to be performed with German visual artist Gerhard Richter and Corinna Belz’s film Moving Picture (946-3). "Reminiscent of his earliest work," says the Financial Times, "it is very beautiful." You can take a look inside the vinyl in an unboxing video here.

  • Nonesuch Records releases the first recordings of Steve Reich’s Runner (2016) and Music for Ensemble and Orchestra (2018), performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and conducted by Susanna Mälkki, available digitally and on CD on September 30, 2022; a vinyl LP version will be released on December 2. The New York Times calls Runner “a calmly luminous orchestral piece with the pulsating, propulsive rhythms that animate much of Mr. Reich’s music.” The San Francisco Chronicle says that Music for Ensemble and Orchestra “is a beautiful and dramatically charged masterpiece, but its impact goes even further than that.” The album track Runner: I. Sixteenths can be heard here.

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  • About This Album

    Internationally renowned composer/performer Steve Reich’s 1996 album features three new pieces, Proverb, Nagoya Marimbas, and City Life. City Life’s UK premiere inspired The Guardian to hail the five-part work as “both a magical evocation and musical landscape ... a fascinating aural fantasy, structured with great skill ... music to return to and relish.”

    In City Life, Reich combines music for his ensemble with sampled sounds recorded on the streets around his New York City apartment. As performed by the Steve Reich Ensemble, conducted by Brad Lubman, the piece provides a fascinating interplay between woodwinds, strings, percussion, piano, and car alarms, street vendors, pile drivers, and heartbeats. The work is divided into five movements: “Check it out,” “Pile driver / alarms,” “It’s been a honeymoon / Can’t take no mo’,” “Heartbeats / boats & buoys,” and “Heavy Smoke.”

    City Life was commissioned by the Ensemble Modern (Frankfurt), the Ensemble InterContemporain (Paris), and the London Sinfonetta, and has also been played by the three co-commissioners of the piece throughout Europe. Reich has long incorporated street noise and speech into his compositions. Such early tape pieces as It's Gonna Rain (1965) and Come Out (1966) manipulated phase relations between multiple repeating patterns. The Grammy Award–winning Different Trains (1988) introduced the use of voice-based melodies. This concept of writing music from the spoken word was presented in an operatic form with the premiere of Reich and video artist Beryl Karat’s documentary opera The Cave in 1993, a piece that helped define a new genre of musical theater.

    Proverb, a composition for voices, electric organs, and vibraphones, shows the influence of medieval French composer Perotin. It contains only one phrase of text—"How small a thought it takes to fill a whole life"—from philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Paul Hillier conducts his group, Theatre of Voices, together with members of Steve Reich’s Ensemble, for this Nonesuch recording. Proverb was co-commissioned by the BBC Proms and the Utrecht Early Music Festival. It premiered as a work-in-progress in London, September 1995; the completed piece debuted in New York, February 1996. The Village Voice said of Proverb: “This was the piece you might have hoped would be written 20 years later by the same person who penned the gorgeous Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices and Organ.”

    Nagoya Marimbas, an intricate piece for two marimbas, is played by long-time Reich colleagues Bob Becker and James Preiss in a virtuoso performance. It consists of frequently shifting but seldom repeated out-of-phase patterns, the whole fusing into a series of two-part unison canons. Nagoya Marimbas was commissioned by the Conservatory in Nagoya, Japan in honor of the opening of the Shirakawa Hall.

    Credits

    MUSICIANS
    Proverb
    Theatre of Voices:
    Andrea Fullington, Sonja Rasmussen, Allison Zelles, sopranos
    Alan Bennett, Paul Elliott, tenors
    with members of The Steve Reich Ensemble:
    Russell Hartenberger, Bob Becker, vibraphones
    Nurit Tilles, Edmund Niemann, electric organs
    Paul Hillier, conductor

    Nagoya Marimbas
    Bob Becker, James Preiss, marimbas

    City Life
    The Steve Reich Ensemble:
    David Fedele, Gen Shin Kai, flutes
    Jackie Leclair, Matthew Sullivan, oboes
    Leslie Scott, Mike Lowenstern, clarinets
    Russell Hartenberger, Bob Becker, vibraphones
    Garry Kvistad, percussion
    Nurit Tilles, Philip Bush, sampling keyboards
    Edmund Neimann, Lisa Moore, pianos
    Elizabeth Lim, Todd Reynolds, vioilns
    Lois Martin, viola
    Jeanne LeBlanc, cello
    Jay Elfenbein, bass
    Bradley Lubman, conductor

    PRODUCTION CREDITS
    Produced by Judith Sherman
    Recorded June 1996 at the Hit Factory, New York City
    Engineered by John Kilgore
    Assistant Engineers: Greg Thompson, Carl Nappa (City Life)
    Mixing Assistant Engineers: Geraldo Lopez (Proverb, City Life), Glen Marchese (Nagoya Marimbas, City Life)
    Editing Assistants: Jeanne Velonis and Karl Heirem
    Production Assistant: Sidney Chen

    Design by Barbara deWilde
    Cover photograph: Steve Reich, 1941

    Executive Producer: Robert Hurwitz

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