STEVE REICH (b.1936): The Desert Music, Three Movements for Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 07N088
Description: Before minimalism became an element in the vocabulary of any number of composers, there was Steve Reich. Both of these pieces, unusually for 'strict' minimalism, are for large orchestra, and both are from the 1980s. They adhere to the original principles of minimalism; fast repetition of small rhythmic cells within much slower-progressing structures of gradual harmonic progression and metamorphosis of the cells themselves; precisely delineated lines divided between instruments or instrumental groups; and a putative requirement for the listener to pay attention to microscopic levels of detail, which was originally intended to be the idea more than the 'hypnotic' effect of the music on a macroscopic level. The Desert Music adds a choir, singing texts taken from poems of William Carlos Williams, with one of the composer's 'attention games' here being the constant shifting emphasis between the meaning and sound of the words, which are sometimes presented in straightforward narrative sequence, and sometimes in complex, semantically incomprehensible canons. Chorus sine nomine, Lower Austrian Tonkünstler Orchestra; Kristjan Järvi. SACD hybrid