- Audio CD (October 15, 1996)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Nonesuch
- ASIN: B000005J4E
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,131 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Proverb / Nagoya Marimbas / City Life
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Top Customer Reviews
His more recent recorded compositions such as "The Cave" and the three works on this disc-- less visceral and emotional, perhaps, but no less powerful of insight-- have been less uniformly well received. In particular, "City Life" has been marginalized by some as a found-sound exercise in banality, utilizing performance techniques that sounded dated when the piece premiered in 1995.
The reason critics need to give it another listen has little to do with the awful coincidence in Reich's climactic choice of the earlier World Trade Center bombing aftermath as a sample source. It has a lot more to do with the sobering atmosphere progressively achieved throughout the first four movements-- a precarious balance of despair and indifference, equipoise and terror. Had this music reflected the events of 2001 rather than 1993, its composer needn't have changed a note.
With almost surgical understatement, Reich distills his stylistic hallmarks-- crystalline architecture, slow-burn intensity, razor-sharp asentimentality, and inexhaustable rhythmic drive-- into a musical observation of urban rage, unsparingly linking individual discontent to mass destruction.
No sides are taken here. Often skeptical of a composer's entitlement to expression for its own sake, Reich has always despised and successfully avoided musical agitprop.Read more ›
"Proverb" is a very interesting, mellow piece with a single lyric: "How small a thought it takes to fill a whole life." This piece recalls the medieval forms such as the organum--but with rhythms and dissonances that the ancients would have never dared explore. The lyric itself seems to be a statement of the principles of minimalism...something upon which the listener is compelled to meditate during the course of this piece. "Nagoya Marimbas", while not the most striking statement is a very interesting study of patterns--the changes are subtle and occur just in time to prevent the piece from becoming monotonous. I imagine that to play this piece would require great concentration on the part of each player, to stay with their individual contribution to it.
By far, "City Life" is the most compelling piece, and the one I initially bought this CD for. The use of sampled sounds, combined with the textures of the music itself, truly evokes the image of New York City, from the frenzied rush of cars in the first movement to the brooding ambience of the harbor, and finally, the potential for disaster reflected in the last movement.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Proverb is one of those compositions that reaches right into your core and then holds you in a transfixed state of listening.Published on January 29, 2014 by B. V. Roekel
This 1996 release presents yet another excellent batch of minimalist compositions from Steve Reich. As a long-time progressive rock fan, I have found the music of the minimalist... Read morePublished on March 26, 2008 by Jeffrey J.Park
When I listened to Reich's 'City Life' tracks, I had to do a quick check on the dates on which the piece was written, to see whether composer Reich had anticipated the styles of... Read morePublished on May 15, 2007 by B. Marold
The first piece on the cd, Proverb, is 14 minutes that don't seem like more than 2. A step beyond Reich's earlier Tehillim, it seems to make use of the influence of medieval... Read morePublished on May 19, 2002
While I have listened to most of this cd and have thoroughly enjoyed everything I heard on it, this is mainly a response to the Good Doctor's comment about the piece Nagoya... Read morePublished on July 3, 2001 by Patrick Irwin
I have great respect for Steve Reich and although I haven't liked everything he has done, he has composed pieces such as Come Out, Different Trains, and Tehillim which are, I... Read morePublished on December 6, 2000 by Dr. Christopher Coleman
ONE OF THE BEST CONTEMPORARY MUSIC CDS YOU CAN BUY. CITY LIFE IS JUST A MASTERPIECE AND A SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE. DO NOT MISS IT.Published on June 16, 1999