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WTC 9/11, Mallet Quartet, Dance Patterns (CD/DVD)
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Reich : WTC 9/11, Mallet Quartet, Dance Patterns
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Steve Reich's WTC 9/11 marks the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, which is the subject of Reich's piece. Commissioned for and recorded by Kronos Quartet, WTC 9/11 is scored for three string quartets and pre-recorded voices. The album also includes Reich's "Mallet Quartet," performed by S Percussion, and "Dance Patterns," featuring members of Steve Reich and Musicians, as well as a DVD with a live performance of "Mallet Quartet" by S Percussion.
WTC 9/11 reflects on the World Trade Center attacks of September 11, 2001, when Reich and his family lived only four blocks away from the site of the tragedy. "On 9/11 we were in Vermont, but our son, granddaughter, and daughter-in-law were all in our apartment. Our phone connection stayed open for six hours and our next-door neighbors were finally able to drive north out of the city with their family and ours. For us, 9/11 was not a media event," the composer says.
The piece is scored for three string quartets; Kronos recorded all three parts for the album. WTC 9/11 also uses pre-recorded voices, the speakers' final vowels and consonants elongated in a stop-motion sound technique that Reich says is the "means of connecting one person to another-harmonically." Those voices and their texts belong to NORAD air traffic controllers, as they raised the alert that the airplanes were off course; FDNY workers on the scene; friends and former neighbors of the Reichs, recalling that day; and women who kept vigil, or Shmira, over the dead in a tent outside the Medical Examiner's office, reading Psalms or Biblical passages. The relationship between Steve Reich and Kronos Quartet spans more than 20 years. This is the third quartet the composer has written for Kronos; all three have been recorded by Nonesuch.
Top customer reviews
Another not-to-be-overlooked item is the recording of Mallet Quartet and the additional DVD of So Percussion performing the piece. Here is rhythmic Reich music at its best: entertaining and engaging. The DVD demonstrates that Reich music is much more than an aural experience, it is very much visual. If you have the opportunity to see a Reich piece being performed, you can't help but be hypnotized by the effort and movement of the musicians. The enclosed DVD is a good teaser until you can see the real thing.