Steve Reich: Different Trains

Steve Reich: Different Trains

by Smith Quartet


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Steve Reich: Different Trains

Much of Steve Reich's mature work is conceived in layers, and many of his pieces since the 1980s are composed for live players accompanied by multiple prerecorded parts; for example, in works such as "Electric Counterpoint" or "Vermont Counterpoint," Reich emphasizes the vertical aspect of interlocking parts, rather than linear procedures involving gradually changing ideas over time, as in his earlier minimalist works (e.g., "Four Organs or Music for 18 Musicians"). The principle of multiplication is apparent in the"Triple Quartet." It presents the Smith Quartet in live performance against two separately taped quartets (also by the Smith Quartet) that magnify the group beyond the intimate scale of a chamber ensemble. In concert, these parts have more aural separation, but on disc, the effect is of a small string orchestra, busily occupied with different parts, yet sounding as one because of the homogenous string timbres. The interlocking canons of "Duet for two violins, four violas, and four cellos" similarly blend into thick textures that are fairly hard to sort out on CD. "Different Trains" features not only the Smith Quartet playing energetically, but also a prepared tape of various voices, train sounds, and air-raid sirens that forms a montage of nostalgic impressions from Reich's childhood and tragic memories of the Holocaust. Signum's reproduction is clear and vibrant, but listeners should use headphones to hear the best separation of parts.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/27/2005
Label: Signum Uk
UPC: 0635212006429
catalogNumber: 64


  1. Triple Quartet, for 3 string quartets
  2. Duet for 2 violins & strings, or chamber ensemble
  3. Different Trains, for double string quartet & tape

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