Steve Reich

Works: 1965-1995

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Of the composers generally referred to as "minimalist" (a label almost universally rejected by those to whom it is applied), three have had a substantial and direct impact on modern music both popular and classical since the 1960s: Philip Glass, Steve Reich and, to a somewhat lesser degree, John Adams. Glass has had the greater commercial success and Adams has worked in larger forms with more prestigious orchestras, but Reich has made the most consistently interesting music in both harmonic and rhythmic terms, successfully setting repetitious, slow-changing patterns into interesting and musically compelling structures. As he has repeatedly and adamantly stated, his is not "trance" music; he expects the listener to pay close attention, and his music amply rewards those who do. This monumental ten-CD retrospective collects the original recordings of Reich's published music, except for the new recordings of "New York Counterpoint," "Eight Lines," "Four Organs," and "Music for 18 Musicians." It documents his progression from early tape pieces (deceptively simple, foreshadowing later work with phase shifting and canonic structures), to more recent choral/orchestral works that demonstrate conclusively that Reich's music is far from "minimal." His most famous works are included, notably "Music for 18 Musicians," "The Desert Music," and "Different Trains," widely regarded as his masterpiece. There are, however, some curious exclusions: His groundbreaking "Violin Phase" is missing, not to mention the charming "Music for Pieces of Wood" ("Clapping Music," from the same period, is included), and his gorgeous composition for flutist Ransom Wilson, "Vermont Counterpoint." Nevertheless, this box set is an essential purchase for anyone with a serious interest in modern art music. The packaging is beautiful, and the accompanying booklet includes full track and personnel listings, a chronology of Reich's career, appreciative notes from fellow musicians, and an excellent new interview by Jonathan Cott.

Track Listing - Disc 9

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
The Cave, multimedia theater work for piano, sampling keyboards & voice of Neville Chamberlain
1 2:58
2 1:33
3 4:42
4 2:32
5 2:36
6 5:25
7 3:27
8 1:20
9 4:30
10 4:40
11 5:19
12 6:29
13 4:23
14 4:40
15 4:04
16 4:28
17 8:42
blue highlight denotes track pick