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Reich: Different Trains, Electric Counterpoint / Kronos Quartet, Pat Metheny

Pat Metheny , Steve Reich , Kronos Quartet Audio CD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Reich: Different Trains, Electric Counterpoint / Kronos Quartet, Pat Metheny + Music for 18 Musicians + Steve Reich: Octet / Music for a Large Ensemble / Violin Phase
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Product Details

  • Performer: Kronos Quartet
  • Composer: Steve Reich
  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B000005IYU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,451 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Different Trains: America - Before the War
2. Different Trains: Europe - During The War
3. Different Trains: After the War
4. Electric Counterpoint: Fast
5. Electric Counterpoint: Electric Counterpoint: Slow
6. Electric Counterpoint: Fast

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Different Trains (1988) will probably go down in history as Reich's masterpiece. And deservedly so. Reich's phase-shifting minimalism is made dazzlingly entertaining in Different Trains, which is scored for string quartet and digitally sampled voices that repeat bits of speech concerning trains and Reich's experience with them growing up. The sinister part here is than some trains carried Jews to death camps. That's here as well. The Kronos Quartet has also never sounded better. Electric Counterpoint (1987) has one guitar--Pat Metheny in this case-- playing to 10 pre-recorded motifs, also on guitar. You absolutely need this. --Paul Cook

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of humanized Minimalism February 24, 1999
Format:Audio CD
Having never been a major aficionado of Minimalist music, my first real introduction to it was via Godfrey Reggio's movie Koyaanisqatsi. The soundtrack to that film, by Philip Glass, was enthralling. It made me seek out his and other composer's music. As part of that search, I picked up Steve Reich's Different Trains/Electric Counterpoint recording about ten years ago. I included it, almost as an afterthought, as part of one of those mail order "buy 10 CDs for a penny!" promotions. The last thing I wrote on the order card, I remember, was this Steve Reich CD. My thought at the time was, "Oh well, I don't know what he sounds like, but it should be interesting." Guess which recording, among all of those I got through that mail order fiasco, is the only one that I still listen to regularly? You got it, Steve Reich's Different Trains. I didn't realize what I was getting. . . . It took time to grow on me. I listened to it maybe three or four times that first year. It was typical minimalist fare; repetitive sound images flowing and changing in organic patterns. It is only now, 10 years later, that I can comprehend what is happening on this CD. Somehow, Steve Reich managed to take the often starkly cold patterns and theories of Minimalism and infuse them with immense humanity. The two separate pieces: "Different Trains" and "Electric Counterpoint" are widely different in tone and intent, but work together strangely well. "Different Trains" is a combination of oversampled recordings by the Kronos Quartet, the recordings of trains, and sound bites from interviews with people who rode on trains during the 1940s. The speech recordings provide 10 or 15 simple phrases such as ". . . from Chicago to New York. Read more ›
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good Steve Reich to have March 11, 2003
By I X Key
Format:Audio CD
Different Train is one of Steve Reich's most talked-about pieces. It was inspired by his personal memories of his experience as a child riding trains a lot all over the United States to visit each of his divorced parents, & also interviews he did with holocaust survivors about their experiences aboard European trains in WWII. The string quartet's job is mostly to match speech melody, & there are other trainy sounds mixed in, too. The music is very muscular, very compelling.
Electric Counterpoint is some of Reich's most beautiful music if you ask me. Each note is absolutely clear; the music changes gradually in increments with great awareness of keeping the listener never bored but always interested. The guitar virtuosity of Pat Metheny does a lot for the piece, too. For one thing, Reich finished his drafts of the music with Metheny telling him where the notes could go given the physical shape of guitars. For me, Electric Counterpoint is probably much more enjoyable to listen to than Different Trains. Wonderful music.
Different Trains is an important Reich piece to be familiar, but I'd even highly recommend this cd just for Electric Counterpoint. This cd is very high on the list of Steve Reich cd's to get.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular Aural Imagery!! May 11, 2005
Format:Audio CD
I was very fortunate to hear the Kronos Quartet perform this up in Orono, Maine (at the University of Maine) the year this CD was released. Not being familiar with either Reich, the piece, or the KQ at the time, I was completely blown out of the water by the uniqueness of the idea, the emotion of the narrative, and the jarring comparison between Reich's life and the lives of so many others. Several jazz perfomers have tried similar "voice-matching" techiniques--Victor Wooten and Jason Moran, most recently--but hearing a child's message on an answering machine replayed on the bass guitar does not match the emotional impact of the narrative Reich provides. It is such an abstract notion with such concrete results. Kronos is impeccable in their performance, as usual, and they provide the flair and brass needed to pull off such a feat. I played this CD (along with Gorecki's Symphony #3) every year in my Holocaust class for juniors and seniors in high school. They are as blown away by the whole concept as I originally was. It is a technically impressive and emotionally draining experience.

Electric Counterpoint is, quite sadly, the overlooked portion of this CD for me. I am a huge Pat Metheny fan, but I look to his other CDs for his best work. I know it is my loss. . . .

Bottom Line: Whether or not you like Steve Reich and/or the Kronos Quartet, you need to give this CD a listen--it is a challenge and a delight.
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a passage to the underworld, and a ride back to life September 19, 2000
Format:Audio CD
As I listen to Different Trains for the hundredth time, I reflect upon what this music means to me. I don't think I had ever experienced anything quite like it before...
It's magic, I believe... How else could something so distant and far gone come back to life through music? How else could something we all try to remove from our spoiled memories drill its way into our heads? How else could music be so powerful as to force us to admit: "it's true, it all really happened"? All of a sudden it's real, more real than it had ever been before. Holocaust, that is.
The twentieth century was the century of sight, they say... Photography, the cinema and TV have made our vision keener. This is good, no doubt, but there are counterparts. Through television, our eyes have gotten to be so familiar with death and the horrors of war, they no longer move our brains, or hearts. It all looks the same, therefore it all feels the same. Like fiction.
Steve Reich asks us not to look, or watch, or even "see," but to close our eyes and listen carefully for once... It's music, he has in store for us, but not the music we are used to... You see, art has no "ethical sympathies," says Oscar Wilde (and I agree with him). So music - perhaps art's most sublime form - should be concerned with Beauty and not with Reality. And that's the way it is, usually, and rightly so. I believe in Aesthetics, and I wouldn't want music to become a political ground. But if someone comes along who manages to combine beautiful music with Reality - or rather, to make a "documentary in music" - there can't possibly be any harm in that...
On the contrary, I believe, it can open a new channel into our hearts, pierce our recalcitrant consciences, allowing them to bleed at last.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
"DIFFERENT TRAINS" (1988) is one of the better known works by Steve Reich (1936 - ), an American composer who helped develop minimalism in music, during the mid to late 1960s... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Claudia Etheridge
5.0 out of 5 stars Very very nice
I missed this one earlier, so sorry. Love it. More I hear it the more I like it, keep diving inside deeper. Don't you miss it!
Published 4 months ago by raceinggreen
4.0 out of 5 stars very moving even for one not in love with American minimalist music.
I have listened to this cd for probably twenty years and still find it very moving. the piece compares the holocast to american life of the forties. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Steven R. Severance
5.0 out of 5 stars "Different Trains" make me laugh and makes me cry
"Different Trains" make me laugh and makes me cry. To the sound of trains different snippets of looped tapes of human speech are heard first as human speech, then... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Oliver VIII
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast shipping, no problems
Wanted to hear Reich's original Electric Counterpoint fast III, and I got it :) Did not disappoint. For anyone who like a little more "upbeat" check out Röyksopp's... Read more
Published on August 22, 2012 by Saus
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving autobiography
The Grammy-award winning "Different Trains" is probably one of Reich's most famous and popular compositions. Read more
Published on July 7, 2011 by Discophage
4.0 out of 5 stars Steve Reich's Different Trains
I am not sure what to make of this album yet. I like Music For 18 Musicians and Sextet/Six Marimbas very much; they appeal to me as a nascent Taiko drummer. Read more
Published on February 25, 2011 by Philip Hallquist
5.0 out of 5 stars Different Trains is the canonical Reich piece
It's beautiful, dramatic, minimalist in concept, and complex in soundscape. The Kronos Quartet does a great job with this chamber music material. Read more
Published on February 4, 2009 by Michael A. Duvernois
1.0 out of 5 stars An extended exercise in pointlessness
Most of the reviewers of this product have been admirers of Steve Reich's work, and I imagine that most people who have read this far will also be fans of the guy, so I hope that... Read more
Published on December 17, 2008 by lexo1941
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking and Emotional
I heard "Before the War" in a Music class I was recently enrolled in. I thought the use of word painting to convey the sense of trains was fantastic, so i bought the album and... Read more
Published on March 18, 2008 by Jason C. Porter
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