Thursday, April 04, 2002

Steve Reich: WORKS 1965 - 1995, Part IV of V

The next two discs of the Reich set include New York Counterpoint, Sextet, The Four Sections, Different Trains, Electric Counterpoint, and Three Movements. As a large orchestral work, I found Three Movements interesting, just to see how Reich handles such large forces. I found New York Counterpoint to be pleasant enough, with the final movement being an interesting application of jazz idioms. All of the other works besides Different Trains were interesting but didn't evoke any strong feelings.

Different Trains was probably my favourite work in the entire set. The piece is scored for string quartet surrounded by a variety of electroacoustical effects, and the movements highlights the American trains before and after World War II, and German trains during the war. Reich brings back some of his speech materials from earlier works, but instead of developing them through phasing, he treats spoken word as a melodic line. First, a motive or melody will be heard in the strings, and then repeated at the same "pitch-level" as spoken word. This interplay of contours makes up much of the piece. The contrast of the movements and this toying with speech makes for a very attractive piece. I believe this one won a Grammy in 1989.

To be concluded...

This week's Movie Night selection was Training Day, a recent cop thriller with Denzel and Ethan. The actors work well off of each other, and it's worth watching just to see Denzel play a villain. This is the movie he won an Oscar for last month.

I've finally finished work on the Ewazen MIDI accompaniments, which took a little longer than expected. Someday, I still want to re-cover the Hindemith and Kennan sonatas, but those will probably stay on the back burner for a long time to come. My next sidetracking task this month will be to remix and update all the MIDIs and scores I have stored on this web site and in my archives. Some of my Finale files haven't been opened since it was called Finale 2.0, and it'd be nice to have clean copies of everything, as well as MIDIs that sound halfway decent.

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