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  • Thursday, May 5, 2011
    Listen: Kronos Quartet Performs Steve Reich's "WTC 9/11" (Excerpt) in Preview of Nonesuch Release
    Jay Blakesberg

    Kronos Quartet will give the European premiere of Steve Reich's latest piece, WTC 9/11—the composer's musical response to the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center—at Barbican Hall in London this Saturday as part of Reverberations, the Barbican's two-day music marathon celebrating the composer's work and his influence on generations of composers and musicians. Kronos gave the world premiere performance of WTC 9/11 at Duke University in March of this year and the New York premiere at Carnegie Hall's all-Reich concert this past Saturday. The New Yorker's Alex Ross writes of the piece: "It is a dark, raw, haunting piece, its detached fury indicative of the undiminished powers of a great American artist who will celebrate his seventy-fifth birthday in October." Nonesuch Records will release the first recording of WTC 9/11 in September of this year, to mark the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center attack. You can now listen to the first two minutes of the piece in an excerpt from the recording here:

    [Excerpt no longer available.]

    Steve Reich wrote WTC 9/11 for Kronos Quartet, as he has his two earlier string quartets, Different Trains and Triple Quartet. WTC 9/11, a piece in three movements, is scored for three string quartets, all played here by Kronos, and pre-recorded voices, including those of 9/11 first responders; interviews with friends and neighbors who lived or worked in lower Manhattan; and the recitation of the Psalms used in the Jewish tradition of Shmira, a ritual to guard the body from the time of death until burial. (Read about the Shmira held at the World Trade Center site after 9/11 at nytimes.com.)

    "The piece begins and ends with the first violin doubling the loud warning beep (actually an F) your phone makes when it is left off the hook," the composer explains. "In the first movement there are archive voices from NORAD air traffic controllers alarmed that American flight 11 was off course. This was the first plane to deliberately crash into the World Trade Center. The movement then shifts to the New York City Fire Department archives of that day telling what happened on the ground."

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Listen: Kronos Quartet Performs Steve Reich's "WTC 9/11" (Excerpt) in Preview of Nonesuch Release

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on May 5, 2011 - 11:42am
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Thursday, May 5, 2011 - 17:00
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Kronos Quartet will give the European premiere of Steve Reich's WTC 9/11—the composer's musical response to the attacks of September 11, 2001—at London's Barbican Hall this weekend, following Saturday's NY premiere at Carnegie Hall. The New Yorker's Alex Ross writes: "It is a dark, raw, haunting piece, its detached fury indicative of the undiminished powers of a great American artist who will celebrate his 75th birthday in October." Nonesuch will release the first recording of WTC 9/11 in September. You can listen to an excerpt of the recording here. [Ed: Excerpt no longer available.]

Copy: 

Kronos Quartet will give the European premiere of Steve Reich's latest piece, WTC 9/11—the composer's musical response to the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center—at Barbican Hall in London this Saturday as part of Reverberations, the Barbican's two-day music marathon celebrating the composer's work and his influence on generations of composers and musicians. Kronos gave the world premiere performance of WTC 9/11 at Duke University in March of this year and the New York premiere at Carnegie Hall's all-Reich concert this past Saturday. The New Yorker's Alex Ross writes of the piece: "It is a dark, raw, haunting piece, its detached fury indicative of the undiminished powers of a great American artist who will celebrate his seventy-fifth birthday in October." Nonesuch Records will release the first recording of WTC 9/11 in September of this year, to mark the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center attack. You can now listen to the first two minutes of the piece in an excerpt from the recording here:

[Excerpt no longer available.]

Steve Reich wrote WTC 9/11 for Kronos Quartet, as he has his two earlier string quartets, Different Trains and Triple Quartet. WTC 9/11, a piece in three movements, is scored for three string quartets, all played here by Kronos, and pre-recorded voices, including those of 9/11 first responders; interviews with friends and neighbors who lived or worked in lower Manhattan; and the recitation of the Psalms used in the Jewish tradition of Shmira, a ritual to guard the body from the time of death until burial. (Read about the Shmira held at the World Trade Center site after 9/11 at nytimes.com.)

"The piece begins and ends with the first violin doubling the loud warning beep (actually an F) your phone makes when it is left off the hook," the composer explains. "In the first movement there are archive voices from NORAD air traffic controllers alarmed that American flight 11 was off course. This was the first plane to deliberately crash into the World Trade Center. The movement then shifts to the New York City Fire Department archives of that day telling what happened on the ground."

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Kronos Quartet and Steve Reich 2011

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