Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians


Music for 18 Musicians


Steve Reich


Music for 18 Musicians (ECM New Series 1129)

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Steve Reich (piano, marimba),

Shem Guibbory (violin), Ken Ishii (cello), Elizabeth Arnold (voice), Rebecca Armstrong (voice), Pamela Fraley (voice), Nurit Tilies (piano), Steve Chambers (piano), Larry Karush (piano, maracas), Gary Schall (marimba, maracas), Bob Becker (marimba, xylophone), Russ Hartenberger (marimba, xylophone), Glen Velez (marimba, xylophone), James Preiss (metallophone, piano), David Van Tieghem (marimba, xylophone, piano), Virgil Blackwell (clarinet, bass clarinet), Richard Cohen (clarinet, bass clarinet), Jay Clayton (voice, piano)


Composed by Steve Reich


Recorded: No date given, album released in 1978


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

The ECM label would eventually push far beyond its jazz roots, but its willingness to tackle new sounds and idioms is perhaps best exemplified by this 1978 release by composer Steve Reich. The classical music world has claimed this extended, hour-long performance, and it is deservedly lauded as a major statement of the minimalist aesthetic. But any attempt to link this music to categories such as "classical' or "jazz" misses much of the point of this visionary composition, which defines its own soundspace. The slow pace of harmonic change creates a hypnotic effect that is unmatched, in my opinion, by any other work of modern music. Reich relies heavily on mallet instruments -- played by seven members of the ensemble -- but tempers them with four female voices, creating a tension between soft and hard, stubborn insistence and gentle persuasion, that transforms the aural space.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

If you liked this track, also check out

Steve Reich (featuring Pat Metheny): Electric Counterpoint
Steve Reich: Piano Phase
Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin: Modul 45

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