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Steve Reich: Sextet, Piano Phase, Eight Lines / Griffiths, London Steve Reich Ensemble

> Sextet (in 5 movements) - I. [Fast] -
> Sextet (in 5 movements) - II. [Moderate] -
> Sextet (in 5 movements) - III. [Slow] -
> Sextet (in 5 movements) - IV. [Moderate] -
> Sextet (in 5 movements) - V. [Fast]
> Piano Phase - Piano Phase
> Eight Lines - Eight Lines

Album Summary

>Reich, Steve : Sextet, for percussion, piano & synthesizers
>Reich, Steve : Piano Phase
>Reich, Steve : Eight Lines
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The London Steve Reich Ensemble, founded by students at the Royal Academy of Music in 2005, has already successfully carried out many projects featuring the music of the composer whose name it bears, and he himself has stated euphorically, "The LSRE is an outstanding group of young musicians. They have a superb feel for how to play my music." Together with the pianist Vincent Corver and the young conductor Kevin Griffiths, the ensemble now presents the Sextet of 1984, Piano Phase (1967), and Eight Lines (1983) – originally instrumented pieces with a richly varied harmonic and chromatic language, metrical modulations, and sudden shifts of rhythmic positions within a recurrent contrapuntal texture!

BBC Music Magazine
These performances have the composer's approval (he says they 'pulse with life' and praises the LSRE's 'superb feel').

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Time was when Steve Reich's music was the exclusive domain of his own ensemble: then he was signed to Boosey & Hawkes and his scores were eagerly picked up by a second generation of interpreters. The result has done nothing but good for Reich's music as 'outsider' groups inevitably bring fresh nuance to works designed for a specific pool of musicians. The London Steve Reich Ensemble - who trade under the great man's name with his blessing - was formed by students from the Royal Academy of Music in 2005 and they quickly demonstrate that Reich's sleeve-note claim that 'these performances pulse with life' is more than puffery. Eight Lines - a 1983 rewrite of the Octet - is less sour than the Reich Ensemble's own recording, and sits comfortably in a conversational slipstream that is highly rewarding. Piano Phase is monumental and steely, again a point of departure from the original.

But most intriguing is the Sextet from 1984, a work that has been unfairly neglected on disc since Reich's recording. Scored for a trademark ensemble of keyboards and mallet percussion, Reich focuses on how he might make the ensemble sound more instrument-heavy than it actually is. Curvaceous bowed vibraphone strokes are a beautiful counterpoint to the inherently brittle ensemble attack and are judiciously highlighted.

The cleanness of the recording certainly helps: low-register piano figurations have a throbbing clarity that creates telling perspective against the rest of the ensemble.



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Works Details

>Reich, Steve : Sextet, for percussion, piano & synthesizers
  • Conductor: Kevin Griffiths
  • Ensemble: Steve Reich Ensemble
  • Notes: The Tonhalle Zurich, Switzerland (10/17/2006-10/19/2006)
  • Running Time: 26 min. 42 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1985

>Reich, Steve : Piano Phase
  • Performers: Keith Ford (Piano); Vincent Corver (Piano)
  • Conductor: Kevin Griffiths
  • Ensemble: Steve Reich Ensemble
  • Notes: The Tonhalle Zurich, Switzerland (10/17/2006-10/19/2006)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 40 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1967

>Reich, Steve : Eight Lines
  • Conductor: Kevin Griffiths
  • Ensemble: Steve Reich Ensemble
  • Notes: The Tonhalle Zurich, Switzerland (10/17/2006-10/19/2006)
  • Running Time: 16 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1979