Music for 18 Musicians Import
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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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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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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!
Most recent customer reviews
...but I still like the ECM recording better. I only wish it were tracked.Published on April 16 2004
ok. everyone just LOVES this recording.... I dont have a CLUE why . it is driving me crazy trying to figure out what they like. Read morePublished on Feb. 18 2004 by hero
I don't know into what kinds of waves this composition puts your brain; delta, alpha, or what...but your brain will thank you for listening. Read morePublished on Jan. 30 2004
I love Steve Reich's music. I actually used to be a Philip Glass fan, but it chanced one day that I was surfing on the 'Net and discovered a little site with mp3 of this piece, and... Read morePublished on Jan. 26 2004 by Joseph Galván
... even my son (7 years old ) likes it!
I wonder how much pop culture has actually flown into this piece of otherwise 'classical' music. Read more
That sure is one mesmerizing hour-long work. I remembered first hearing parts of the work on the PBS Series "Cosmos" (particulaly, "Pulses", Sections I and... Read morePublished on April 30 2003
This recording of Reich's most canonical piece is perfect. & the music is absolutely brilliant. Read morePublished on March 12 2003 by I X Key
A few days ago a friend of mine and I took some mushrooms and I decided to throw this on. Holy God, what a piece of music this is. Read morePublished on Dec 27 2002 by Graham V. Foy
Just heard this for the first time. If you're an artist of any kind, put it on while you're at work on something, i think it made my left brain more eccentric, but still... Read morePublished on Oct. 25 2002 by Alec