Album Remarks & Appraisals:
It was a labor of love - intense, obsessive love - and they not only learned to play the piece, they learned to play it well.' - John Schaefer, New Sounds 'The result is a hyper-propulsive and yet silkily beautiful, entrancing and utterly alive interpretation that more than holds its own.' - Anastasia Tsioulcas, Billboard Music for 18 Musicians, one of Reich's most popular works with its creamy orchestration and trippy patterns, has found new roots in the heartland. A band of Michigan students and volunteers led by Bill Ryan has devoted the last year to perfecting it; in the process, turning it into something of a lifestyle. Originally released as a hybrid SACD/CD audiophile, surround recording, and now as a regular CD, it captures every phrase of the work, as though you were hearing it for the first time in your life.
Audio Mixers: Bill Ryan ; Silas Brown.
Recording information: Royce Auditorium, St. Cecilia's Music Center, Grand Rap.
Among the numerous minimalist pieces that appeared in the mid-1970s, Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians is universally regarded as an essential work, and the increasing number of performances over the years have guaranteed its popularity. Premiered in 1976 by Reich and his hand-picked ensemble, the piece demanded extraordinary precision and stamina of its players, and it was long thought that only Reich's group had the wherewithal to play its steady pulses, sustained tones, and intricate patterns. Yet in time, several other ensembles have not only mastered the work's challenges but also made first-rate recordings that closely match Reich's original ECM New Series recording in accuracy and sound quality. This Innova release by the Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble was first issued in 2007 as a multichannel hybrid SACD, and this 2013 CD version retains much of the original's richness of tone and spacious ambience. The excellence of this performance has been noted by Reich, and it has been critically praised for its beauty and virtuosity, all the more remarkable in that this is a university level ensemble that matches any professional group. ~ Blair Sanderson