- Proverb, for 3 sopranos, 2 tenors, 2 vibes & 2 organs
- Nagoya Marimbas, for 2 marimbas
- City Life, for for chamber ensemble
This recording brings together three disparate styles on one record showcasing Reich's compositional work. Opening with "Proverb," a piece for voices and a mixed ensemble, the disc begins on a somber note. The complete text of the piece is the following line from Ludwig Wittgenstein: "How small a thought it takes to fill a whole life!" This line is sung very, very slowly, note by note with style and chord structure hearkening back to medieval harmonization. Electric organs double the singers. The centerpiece of the record is "Nagoya Marimbas," with a sound reminiscent of Reich's marimba work from the '60s and '70s, and for fans of this era of Reich's work it is a pleasant surprise to hear another piece in this style again. Marimba parts themselves are significantly more complex here, showing Reich's continuing development even when returning to old haunts. The final piece, "City Life," is a kickback to an earlier composition style, utilizing sounds in the natural environment (or in this case the urban environment) to generate musical material. Rather than using manipulated magnetic tape, however, Reich uses what he calls the "extended idea of prepared piano" -- the electronic keyboard sampler. Unlike experiments using tape, this piece was recorded live and can be easily reproduced live on-stage. Sampled sounds come in the form of speeches at political rallies, car horns, pile drivers, and sounds from fire-department radios during the first World Trade Center bombing. Using a car horn to replace the sound of a clarinet is, it must be said, pretty darn cool. This record shows Reich playing with different styles -- it is a transitional point in his career -- which leaves the cohesiveness of the recording off-balanced. But seeing the forest for three different kinds of trees, the new works are exciting and musically satisfying.