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Music for 18 Musicians Import

37 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Sept. 17 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • ASIN: B00011MK2E
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

Product Description

Ecrit en 1976 pour quatre voix de femmes et ensemble instrumental, Music For 18 Musicians est sans doute l'une des oeuvres les plus séduisantes de Steve Reich. Le compositeur américain, qu'il serait abusif de réduire au "minimalisme", fait ici la démonstration d'une inventivité harmonique et rythmique qui ne relève d'aucune école, mais qui emprunte à de multiples traditions musicales. On a pu ainsi remarquer, dans cette pièce délectable, un hommage aux premières polyphonies françaises du XIIe siècle. --Michel Marmin --This text refers to an alternate Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Audio CD
When a work of this stature invokes a level of profound and richly rewarding response from a listener, its difficult to know, or to offer any explanation for, just what it is that separates a work of this magnitude from music, even excellent music, which just doesn't reach this level of expression. And this isn't music that's likely to turn everybody's crank, either, as by any standard that considers the vast range of kinds and qualities of music available in the world today, its unique, unusual, and insistently individualistic in almost every way.
This music is capable of functioning on any number of different levels, as the many Amazon reviews show. On a less complex level of response its ravishing surface textures can be accepted as simple ravishment, its simple harmonic structure can be enjoyed for its simplicity, and its flowing tempos can absorb a listener in the sheer sense of encompassing flow. Yet for many listeners the amazingly rich washes of sound arising from the intricate interlacing of simply repeated but subtly shifting motifs engender a complex, suffusing experience that somehow transcends any attempt to limit the listening response to individual elements or individual emotional responses. Like any great musical work this piece offers a more encompassing, synthesized representation of a way of looking at, responding to, and understanding the world, and any listener fortunate enough to have their synapses firing along the same lines is apt to experience a truly involving and powerful response.
This music offers a powerful metaphor of life itself. Not literal, not representational, not discursive, but cogent, coherent, and rich with the depth and involving flow of life.
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By nimrod on Dec 24 2003
Format: Audio CD
Steve Reich is a composer who I admittedly just recently discovered, and know very little about. On the whim of a recommendation from a trusted source, I ordered this album. Thank God for recommendations...
This album is performed by 18 musicians at the top of their games. This album is melodic, haunting, lush, groovy, complex. You cannot argue with Reich's intricate, interwoven melodies on various mallet percussion, piano, woodwinds, and voice. The melodies lay on top of each other and zigzag between each other for the full length of this brilliant work. You would think 60+ minutes of instrumental music put in one song would be dull, but there isn't a single dull moment to be found. This piece is as catchy as anything on Top 40 radio, and yet the genius and nuances are always there to be found, every time you listen.
The music is pretty hard to describe. As I mentioned, there are only 18 musicians on a handful of instruments. Reich's composition sees instruments entering and exiting with melodies that zigzag between, under, and over each other. The intense dynamics of the crescendos and decrescendos gives certain parts an almost electronic feel. This, along with the aforementioned layered entrances allows the piece to build, until it drops off about halfway through...and then starts again. Throughout all of this, there is the mallet percussion vamp that the song starts with in "Pulses". This music dances, it is alive. Each subsequent melody is as catchy as the last. The music will demand your attention and lull you into hypnosis at the same time. It is like a dreamlike trance put to music. It ebbs and it flows. It grooves. It must be heard to really understand, but it is awesome.
There's so much I want to say about this album, but I'm not really sure how. It has completely blown my mind. It is the ultimate fusion of artistic vision, musical genius, and accessibility.
True 5 Star Album. Highly recommended for all.
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By A Customer on Dec 11 2001
Format: Audio CD
I own all three recordings of Music For 18 Musicians; I suggest that for anyone who is truly interested in the work, owning all three is a must.
In order of preference for me, the recordings go ECM, RCA, and Nonesuch.
No recording of 18 quite captures the piece as it sounds live. (I've had the luck to see it twice with Steve Reich & Musicians at the San Francisco Symphony.) However, the ECM version comes close to duplicating the timbre of the real thing. To my ears, it sounds the most "live".
The RCA/Ensemble Modern recording is perhaps the best performed. Ensemble Modern emphasizes Reich's earlier philosophies about music as a process; they clearly delineate the various instruments and lines in the recording, and they properly accentuate the lead mallet lines. (I say "proper" because that's what it sounded like when I saw 18 performed live.) What this recording lacks in lush beauty, it gains in near-academic perfection.
The new Nonesuch recording was designed from the ground up to be a recording, not a live performance. Most instruments are close-mic'd, which gives the odd feeling of standing next to all of the instruments at the same time. I love it for its open spaces, surprising tempo, and stunning imaging of the mallet instruments. It is as lush and beautiful as the ECM recording, but I prefer the subtleties and pacing of the ECM more.
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Format: Audio CD
This is the original recording, from 1978 (it was written between 1974 and 1976, and first performed in April 1976), and it is perfectly realized -- one of the two essential minimalist masterpieces, along with Riley's "In C." Reich's liner notes give a good idea of how it was constructed, referring to Balinese gamelan music, and West African drumming.
I was aware of this at the time of its release, because I listened to lots of ECM jazz, but did not hear it all the way through until recently as I became interested in contemporary composition. (I believe there was an excerpt on an ECM compilation I used to own called "Music for 54 Musicians"!)
"Music for 18 Musicians" is one of the most important creations of late 20th century music, and one of the most beautiful. Western "classical" music seems to be at an impasse at the turn of the millennium. Young, Riley and Reich pointed the way toward a synthesis with other musics, musics of the East, and of Africa. I see few signs that this is a deepening trend, but it should be, for the sake of us all. Compassion for all sentient beings! This music conveys that message.
So much music, so little time. I rarely pursue multiple recordings, but I may some day make an exception and look for Reich's more recent recording of this piece for Nonesuch. You can't go wrong with the original ECM, though!
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