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Reich: Different Trains / Triple Quartet / The Four Sections CD

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, CD, November 16, 2004
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Different Trains, for double string quartet & tape: I. America - Before the war
  2. Different Trains, for double string quartet & tape: II. Europe - During the war
  3. Different Trains, for double string quartet & tape: III. After the war
  4. Triple Quartet, for 3 string quartets: Part 1
  5. Triple Quartet, for 3 string quartets: Part 2
  6. Triple Quartet, for 3 string quartets: Part 3
  7. The Four Sections, for orchestra: Section 1
  8. The Four Sections, for orchestra: Section 2
  9. The Four Sections, for orchestra: Section 3
  10. The Four Sections, for orchestra: Section 4


Product Details

  • Orchestra: Orchestre National de Lyon
  • Conductor: David Robertson
  • Composer: Steve Reich
  • Audio CD (November 16, 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naive
  • ASIN: B0002TKFUO
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #522,065 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Hearing the orchestral version of Different trains was a great pleasure, it is even better than the Kronos original version from 1988, that has a quite crude quality to it. Also on this recordning the speaking voices are much clearer and in better balance with the orchestra. I certainly recommend this.
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being a big steve reich fan, with "different trains" being one of my all-time favorites, i rushed out to get this new string orchestra version the minute i read about it on the web. boy, was i disappointed. this is an unbelievably sloppy performance, and a very poor-quality recording to boot. i really am having a hard time seeing how this passed under reich's normally very sensitive and perfectionist radar.

it seems particularly odd, given his stance on large-scale orchestral renditions of his music in general. i'm thinking specifically of "the desert music," which was originally written for full orchestra and chorus, but after a very successful chamber ensemble arrangement was made of that piece and recorded by the group "alarm will sound," it's my understanding that he now more or less considers that version to be the definitive arrangement of that piece, and feels that the orchestral version is simply too overblown to accomodate the clarity and precision his music requires. i, for one, never thought much of that piece until i heard that pared-down, ultra precise rendition. now it's one of my favorites of his.

anyway, the point is that things seem to have gone the other direction with "different trains." the kronos quartet's recording is, in my opinion, absolutely definitive. it's very precise, rhythmically agile, and yet brings out all the proper emotion and feeling of the piece at the same time.

this new orchestral recording, however, is a complete mess. you can just SEE the various members of the ensemble glancing at their watches while hacking away at reich's complex rhythms, as if bushwhacking their way through dense jungle with machetes.
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2 Comments 21 of 28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
This performance of Steve Reich's Different Trains is mesmerizing. Listening to it once will probably not expose its true beauty. It is really an opera about memory, loss, regret, deep sorrow, acceptance, then moving on. This is surely the greatest opera written by an American in the last half of the 20th century. Its text could have been written by Gertrude Stein, it is so precise and fitting. She was noted for her repetition, unfairly, for the repetitiveness is really what she called stress or insistence. And so it is in this opera's text--insistent rhythms and rhymes exactly reflecting meaning in every note.

Be prepared for music that exactly fits the meaning and mood of the text. For finally this music and text are about the Holocaust, its predecessors, the still unbelievable horror of war, especially the fate of Jews, and its aftermath, with its sorrowful moving on.

Mr. Reich's score is my candidate for the finest composition of our times. I know it takes a while to get used to its style, but stick with it. It repays all effort of concentration.

Robert E. Finley, Palm Springs, California.
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