Notes and Editorial Reviews
This disc received the 1999 Grammy Award for "Best Small Ensemble Performance."
Here is a classic remade. When Steve Reich unveiled 'Music for 18 Musicians' in 1976, minimalism was taken to another plateau, leaving behind conceptual austerity for more sensual expression. An excellent recording was made for ECM in 1978 with the original performers, seven of whom, including Reich, remain for this new take, part of an ambitious project to record all of the composer's works for Nonesuch.
This performance is very similar to the earlier one, just a shade slower, but ten minutes longer thanks to the greater number of repeats taken within the modular sections. Though perhaps a little of the sense of brinksmanship is missing, the new version is more clearly recorded, revealing greater detail in the inner workings, especially in quieter moments. Nonesuch deserves accolades for committing to a complete, digitally recorded Reich catalog and this disk offers a crystal clear view of one of his greatest works.