Reich: Music for 18 Musicians
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Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians
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Making their harmonia mundi debut, New York-based Ensemble Signal performs Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians (1974-76), a seminal work by a pioneering composer who changed the course of 20th Century music. Steve Reich says, ''Signal has made an extraordinary recording of Music for 18 Musicians. Fast moving, spot on and emotionally charged. Take a listen.''
Best Classical Music Recordings of 2015
--The New York Times
Even if more recordings are released next year to celebrate the 40th anniversary of this work, Steve Reichs instant classic, none will likely be more sensational than this...the augmented players of the Ensemble Signal joyously meld rhythmic precision and transparency of sound with a startling ability to shade colors.
-- The New York Times
Two more things make the release, to my mind, the best Ive ever heard. First is the great rhythmic complexity of the score...Second, the sound is warm but clear and extremely detailed... Ensemble Signals performance is more than an inspiration; it is a miracle.
-- American Record Guide
Signals technical control and precision, combined with Lubmans ability to project the broad sweep of the work s internal dimensions, is sustained throughout the recording --Gramophone
a rhythmic profile that is both swift and loose - the tempos have a noticeable forward push, and yet the ensemble playing is so masterful that it all sounds effortlessly graceful.
-- The San Francisco Chronicle
Theres tremendous, unstoppable energy in this performance, an urgent edge to its textures and a surging power to its thrilling climaxes, that make the greatness of the music unmistakable.
--5 Stars, The Guardian UK
Two excellent recordings...exist already...But this new version, by the New York-based Ensemble Signal, bests them both...Ensemble Signal and its music director, Brad Lubman, bring the musics sounds, textures, and shapes into amazingly sharp focus. --The Boston Globe
For accuracy, transparency, and sheer joie de musique, they beat even the 1978 ECM recording led by Reich...It helps that the engineering is magnificent, every texture audible but not underlined in that early digital way.
-- 5 Stars, Stereophile
A dazzling new recording of Reichs early masterpiece, one that consistently comes up trumps for vivacity, freshness and hypnotic beauty. --5 Stars, Classical Music Magazine
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Top customer reviews
Of course the first ECM recording with Steve Reich is considered the benchmark, and I do love it, but this latest version is also very fine and a real delight - precise, bright and sprightly - and done with a sense of urgency which perhaps tips the balance more towards the "energetically creative" than the soothingly meditative. Yet there is something charming about this bright version as well, it is like awakening into a realm that knows no sleep or time, distraction or rest - each moment a complete shining crystal in itself, made audible by18 gnomes...
Bravo to all involved!
I grew up with Steve Reich's recording with ECM back in the late 70's and I loved it and thought it was landmark...... So sorry but this is much better.
It’s been eight years since the last recording of “18” was released; since that time, I’ve been thoroughly convinced that the Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble’s splendid rendition of “18” was the definitive recording of the piece. Until now. Ensemble Signal has produced a stunning and superlative performance: from start to finish the ensemble is meticulously precise, well-proportioned, and graceful. Every instrumental nuance is voiced with crystal clarity; in this recording I heard notes that were obscured or seemingly absent in the previous five recordings.
Many first-time listeners to “18” might be too quick to complain about the seeming repetitiveness of this work; to them I would say, “give it time and repeated listening". Having listened to Reich’s masterpiece hundreds of times during the past four decades (it is absolutely my favorite piece of music), I only recently realized why I find it so organically and elementally compelling. "18", in my view, follows a different and rarely trodden path. The work is "about " organic rhythms and dense layers of phased harmonics; it is "about" the human breath and tapestries of slowly evolving pulses that mimic heartbeats, chants, footfalls, and the thundering wheel-clicks of runaway trains.
"18" disregards the conventional narrative imperatives; it tells no story, offers no clichéd characters, develops no plot twists or unresolved conflicts, and ultimately refuses to yield an emotionally satisfying and cathartic conclusion. Rather, "18" is a trance-inducing tone-poem, a sonic loom weaving fluid carpets of richly repetitive warps and woofs. And Ensemble Signal’s rendition is one to treasure!