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Drumming

Steve Reich Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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This was Reich's breakthrough masterpiece, inspired by his studies of African drumming. The patterns throughout this music are so powerful and hypnotic that, once you get involved, it's a shock when it ends an hour later. I have enjoyed this piece most in concert when Reich's ensemble used the maximum number of repetitions allowed (optional in the score). I regret somewhat the decision used in making this recording, which held the timing to under an hour. The first recording of Drumming ran to nearly 90 minutes. But it also ran onto a second CD, and it's no longer available. Meanwhile, for anyone open to the power of this music, this is a disc not to be missed. --Leslie Gerber

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4.5 out of 5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth The Wait Dec 8 2003
Format:Audio CD
After repeatedly restraining myself from buying the truncated Nonesuch 'Drumming', I finally gave in to my urge by getting this re-release of the original 85-minute recording from 1974. Unlike the other reviewer, listening to the whole thing was no problem. In fact, I wouldn't have minded if it were longer. The music is entrancing, fluid, graceful and motivating. (It's terrific workout music!) The simplicity of its beginnings give way to exhuberant complexity again and again, continually arriving in surprizing places. My only complaint is the idiotic, flimsy cardboard packaging, which has been specially designed not to fit in slots made for CD jewel cases, and to last for weeks, perhaps months of use. I guess the folks at Echo 20/21 don't know about the convenient 2CD jewel cases that are used for most double sets!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive recordings of all pieces... June 14 2004
By Jonny B
Format:Audio CD
This is a brilliant insight into some of Reich's percussive works, with well played versions of each piece - who would expect less from Reich's own ensemble? Not much needs to be said for Drumming - this is the definitive recording for Reich's groundbreaking piece. Music for Mallet Instruments is brilliantly done, with a nice balance on the instruments and voices. The same applies for Six Pianos, although I do believe Piano Circus also did a brilliant version. A definite CD to buy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great recording, available with more though... May 19 2004
By Jonny B
Format:Audio CD
This is clearly the best recording of Drumming. The long phase shifts have an incredible effect, and the performance is note perfect for the whole hour and a half! However, the CD bundled with Six Pianos and Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices and Organ is always worth the extra few pounds. Last time I checked it was still on the shelves...
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Original "Drumming" Is Back!! Dec 9 2003
Format:Audio CD
"Drumming" is composer Steve Reich's most adventurous and challenging composition. Composed between 1970 and 1971, "Drumming" takes the genre of percussion-based music to a new level. Its use of syncopated and phase-shifting rhythms remains innovative (and some would say pioneering) even today.
The original recording of "Drumming" was made in Germany in 1974 and was released on the Deutsch Grammaphone Label. This version had been unavailable for many years and had become a sought-after collectors item. However, all things must come to pass because now, the much sought-after original recording of "Drumming" has been issued on CD for the very first time at its original length of 84-minutes (the later 1987 recording on Nonesuch Records featured a trimmed-down version running at 56-minutes).
"Drumming" is divided into four distinct parts or movements. The first part is performed entirely on three sets of tuned bongos played with drumsticks. It begins with a single drumbeat which builds up to a syncopated rhythm which carries the entire piece the rest of the way. Throughout it's 25-minutes, this opening section explores nearly every possibility of what can be done with a single simple repeated rhythm. The method of 'phase-shifting' (having one player go out of synch with the other) adds further complexity.
The first part leads directly into the second part as the bongos fade out and the marimbas take over. The marimbas carry on with the piece's simple rhythm which is augmented by two female singers mimicking the pitches with vocal scats. As this part of the piece progresses, the marimbas gradually move from their lowest register to their highest.
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5.0 out of 5 stars More alive than the Nonesuch recording! Dec 3 2003
Format:Audio CD
Steve Reich's "Drumming" is an amazing piece of work showing how much you can do with one - yes one - continuous musical phrase. Sometimes I even feel guilty when thinking, "Goodness, I wish Reich would do just one more phasing piece". I love the old Reich and am not afraid to admit it. This album, then, is a dream come true.
Whiile I am a young fan (26) from what I can ascertain this was the original 1973 recording. Maybe it is becuase the piece was so new then but this recording has much more life in it than the Nonesuch. Particularly the first and second movement are noticeable in that the first is more bombastic towards its apex while the second while in some senses calmer than the Nonesuch recording, has this hidden forward motion-energy that is more powerful than the Nonesuch track.
All in all, this piece is a joy and I jump at the chance to hear any recording of it. The only complaints are slight. AS it is a '73 recording, some of the overtones in the second and third movements occasionally sound out of tune (the low marimba and a few of the glockenspiel tones for example) - not because they WERE out, but because (my guess) they recorded that way. Second, of course, is the fact taht one cannot listen straight through, as this is a two-disc set. Small potatoes in relation to such a good recording!
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5.0 out of 5 stars perfect texture for a room March 12 2003
By I X Key
Format:Audio CD
This is the piece in which Reich first developed the technique of gradually replacing rests with notes & notes with rests. & he does it so well! The rhythms, & melodies, are so complex, & they get into your head. Hypnotic, beautiful, very interesting, from Reich's studies of African music. He studies music so hard. He once got malaria while in Africa studying music. Anyways, this piece is phenomenal.
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