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Reich: Triple Quartet, Music For Large Ensemble / Frasca, Pierson, Yoshida, Kronos Quartet

Release Date: 10/16/2001 
Label:  Nonesuch   Catalog #: 79546   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Steve Reich
Performer:  David HarringtonJohn SherbaJennifer CulpHank Dutt,   ... 
Conductor:  Alan Pierson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kronos QuartetOssiaAlarm Will Sound
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 54 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Reich's Triple Quartet is a potent meshing of melodic, rhythmic and textural variation, while the remaining works look back into Reich's musical past to striking effect.

The Triple Quartet is Steve Reich's first work for Kronos since the haunting Different Trains of 1988. Employing two pre-recorded quartets, the three groups of four move together in a powerful meshing of melodic, rhythmic and textural variation. Martyn Harry suggests that the work is 'a string piece in all but name', but until Kronos relinquish it to a 12-person ensemble they are fine advocates of this potent piece. The couplings look back into Reich's musical past - to striking effect.

-- Gramophone [Editor's Choice, 4/2002]
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Steve Reich continues his exploration of counterpoint and phasing with Triple Quartet, a commission piece for the Kronos Quartet dating to 1999. For this piece (a suite in three movements), Kronos recorded two quartet scores, then played along with the tape, resulting in the Triple Quartet. Originally inspired by Bela Bartok's Fourth Quartet, the movements alternate fast, slow, and fast, with thick contrapuntal melodies rising and falling throughout. "Electric Guitar Phase" began life as "Violin Phase" in 1967. For this version, Dominic Frasca plays four electric guitar parts designed to set up phasing patterns. The initial melody (which almost sounds like the intro to a Van Halen tune) is doubled on a second guitar, then gradually sped up so that the second guitar winds up one eighth note ahead of the original melody. As other guitar parts are added in, the melody constantly changes subtly, the end result being a fascinating mixture of stasis and evolution. "Music for Large Ensemble," originally dating to 1977, is for a group approaching 30 players and is reminiscent of "Music for 18 Musicans" (also from the same time period), while "Tokyo/Vermont Counterpoint" is originally from 1981 and is performed by only one player performing multiple parts. For this piece, the original arrangement for flutes and piccolos is scored for MIDI marimba and xylophone. The natural duration of the notes was shortened in order to maintain the clarity of the composition, but the piece still shares a sonic kinship with "Six Marimbas." Triple Quartet is another beautiful offering from Steve Reich. It would also serve as a fine introduction to his work, as it surveys each of his four active decades as a composer and touches on the various styles and processes he's been interested in since moving away from pure musique concrète. Highly recommended.

-- Sean Westergaard, AllMusic.com
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Works on This Recording

Triple Quartet by Steve Reich
Performer:  David Harrington (Violin), John Sherba (Violin), Jennifer Culp (Cello),
Hank Dutt (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kronos Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1999; USA 
Venue:  Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California 
Length: 14 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Notes: This is a work for string quartet and tape.
Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, California (1999 - 2000) 
Music for a Large Ensemble by Steve Reich
Performer:  Alan Pierson (Vibraphone)
Conductor:  Alan Pierson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ossia,  Alarm Will Sound
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1978; USA 
Date of Recording: 2000 
Venue:  Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY 
Length: 14 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Violin Phase by Steve Reich
Performer:  Dominic Frasca (Electric Guitar)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1967; USA 
Date of Recording: 01/2001 
Venue:  DV8 Studios, New York City 
Length: 15 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Dominic Frasca. 
Vermont Counterpoint by Steve Reich
Performer:  Mika Yoshida (MIDI Controller)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1982; USA 
Date of Recording: 03/1998 
Venue:  Toms Studio, Hondo City, Kumamoto, Japan 
Length: 9 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Notes: This arrangement by Mika Yoshida is titled 'Tokyo/Vermont Counterpoint.' 

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