Phases - A Nonesuch Retrospective

Phases - A Nonesuch Retrospective

by Steve Reich


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Steve Reich has a remarkable arrangement for a composer in that he is an exclusive artist for Nonesuch and has been so for more than two decades. Back in 1996, when Reich celebrated his 60th birthday, Nonesuch issued a 10-CD box set of "everything" -- all of the works in the Warner Classics vaults that he had recorded, including some new at the time, such as Steve Reich: Works 1965-1995. With Reich's 70th birthday afoot, the earlier set still in print and Nonesuch belonging to a classical music division that is operating on one lung, it has decided on a more modest approach to the newer observance with Steve Reich: Phases -- A Nonesuch Retrospective, a collection consisting of five discs. It is an apt description, as apart from "Come Out," everything on this compilation was recorded originally for Nonesuch and produced by Judith Sherman between 1984 and 2005. There is nothing new here, and Steve Reich: Phases -- A Nonesuch Retrospective incorporates the whole of his most recent Nonesuch album, You Are (Variations), along with the Nonesuch recordings of The Desert Music, Drumming, and Music for 18 Musicians, all works occupying complete Nonesuch discs. In the first three cases, Nonesuch has added works to flesh the discs out to fill more time than the originals occupied. Reich has done relatively little recording for Nonesuch since 1996, and much of what there has been is rather difficult to compile into a collection like this one; Reich's operas "The Cave" and "Three Tales" are not things even the most disinterested of producers would care to carve into. One development since 1996 that has added considerable interest to Reich's recorded canon is the increasing number of artists other than Steve Reich and Musicians, and specific players for whom he fulfills commissions, who are learning, performing, and recording Reich's work. While Reich is an expert performer of his own music, without others coming into the fold his output will succumb to "Harry Partch Syndrome," a condition whereby the music becomes more or less unperformable after the passing of the composer. There is no reasonable way for Nonesuch to reflect such a wide array of more recent developments in recorded Reichiana -- that is best left to those who enjoy collecting Reich recordings of the single-disc variety. However, there's no denying that Steve Reich: Phases -- A Nonesuch Retrospective is a tremendous bargain; you can get most of his key works here along with others in authoritative readings in a package totaling nearly 400 minutes for roughly the price of a two-disc set. If you have a Reich-loving relative this would make a superb gift, or want to even just test the waters with Steve Reich: Phases -- A Nonesuch Retrospective, which is a very generous and comprehensive starting point. It seems strange to praise a collection of the music of Steve Reich from the standpoint of economics, so it should be mentioned that all of these Nonesuch recordings are, or were, state of the art when made and reflect Reich's intentions to a "T."

Product Details

Release Date: 09/26/2006
Label: Nonesuch
UPC: 0075597996227
catalogNumber: 79962
Rank: 22292


  1. Music for 18 Musicians, for 4 female voices & 16 instruments
  2. Different Trains, for double string quartet & tape
  3. Tehillim, for 3 sopranos, alto, winds, strings, percussion & keyboards
  4. Eight Lines (revision of "Octet"), for chamber orchestra
  5. You Are (Variations), for chorus & ensemble
  6. New York Counterpoint, for clarinet, bass clarinet & tape
  7. Cello Counterpoint, for cello & pre-recorded tape (or 8 cellos)
  8. Electric Counterpoint, for electric guitar, bass guitar & tape
  9. Triple Quartet, for 3 string quartets
  10. Come Out, for tape
  11. Proverb, for 3 sopranos, 2 tenors, 2 vibes & 2 organs
  12. The Desert Music, chamber version
  13. Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices and Organ, for 3 female voices, 3 marimbas, 3 glockenspiels, vibes & organ
  14. Drumming, for 2 female voices, piccolo, 4 pairs of bongos, 3 marimbas & 3 glockenspiels

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