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Classical

Music for 18 Musicians

Music for 18 Musicians
Music for 18 Musicians
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Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians was an immediate and powerful success at its premiere in 1976. If Terry Riley’s 1964 classic In C can be regarded as the origin of the American minimalism movement, Music for 18 Musicians marks the emergence of minimalism from out of the fringes and into the mainstream. This glistening new recording reveals the work with no loss of power compared to the venerated premiere recording on ECM, in a performance supervised by the composer. The Colin Currie Group, led by the eponymous Scottish percussionist, also has strong ties to the composer. The score is entirely acoustic (including four vocalists), but is constructed with an obsessive precision that, at first, creates a machine-like aura. But as the music proceeds, the mechanical veneer is replaced by very human characteristics, such as breathing and heartbeat as expressed in the music’s rhythms, especially in this rendering. The work is, without a doubt, a modern masterpiece, and any serious music lover, of any inclination, should experience it (David Bowie placed the ECM release on his list of 25 favorite albums). The SACD sound is positively voluptuous.

Tags: CLASSICAL MUSIC

By Peter Burwasser

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