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Reich - New York Counterpoint Eight Lines Four Organs [CD]

Steve Reich Audio CD

Price: £14.14 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Steve Reich has been called "...America's greatest living composer." (The Village VOICE), "...the most original musical thinker of our time" (The New Yorker) and "...among the great composers of the century" (The New York Times). From his early taped speech pieces It's Gonna Rain (1965) and Come Out (1966) to his and video artist Beryl ... Read more in Amazon's Steve Reich Store

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. New York Counterpoint: Fast 5:03£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. New York Counterpoint: Slow 2:43£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. New York Counterpoint: Fast 3:40£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Eight Lines (Octet) (1979)17:36Album Only
Listen  5. Four Organs / 197015:52Album Only

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BBC Review

For the composers Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe, who began the Bang on a Can Festival in New York and the performing group that grew out of it, Steve Reich has become a patron saint. All three would acknowledge that their own distinct musical styles owe something to his example, while Reich himself has publicly declared his approval of what they are attempting to do in fusing the techniques of minimalism with the hard edges and rhythmic drive of American rock music. So this collection is a kind of homage by Bang on a Can to their guru, and by concentrating on three of the 'purest' of his instrumental works, they show how it is possible to see in fine detail the musical processes that underpin all of his music. Four Organs, the earliest work here, strips the repetitive principles of minimalism down to the bone, and 30 years after it was written it still seems a savage, uncompromising piece. By the time of the octet Eight Lines, nine years later, the edges of its tightly interlocking canons are much softer and Reich felt able to delight in beauty of sound for its own sake, while the tapestry created by the pulsing harmonies and surging riffs of the multi-tracked clarinets in New York Counterpoint (12 instruments altogether), is so sumptuous that it hardly seems to be generated by a single instrumental colour at all.

Performance *****
Sound ****

© BBC Music Magazine 2000

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.2 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New York School, the second generation... 21 May 2000
By somebody - Published on
Format:Audio CD
A composer unique in his own systematic musical processes, Steve Reich's approach to music making is one of sonic exploration, tangled complexity, and formulas laden with rhythmic intensity. Frequently based on tonal canonic motives, his harmonies phase seamlessly together to create a mesmerizing musical environment. Presented chronologically in reverse order of time composed, this recording presents three seminal works by Reich that demonstrate his unyielding evolution from minimalist to modernist. Reminiscent of the classic "Music for 18 Musicians" from the mid-seventies, "New York Counterpoint," displays Reich's pulsing sonorities, convincingly interpreted by clarinetist Evan Ziporyn. The intricate "Eight Lines," revised in 1983, blends calm, elongated string lines against a backdrop of coloristic woodwinds in contrapuntal fury. "Four Organs", composed in 1970, shows a compositional structure in the form of uncompromising minimalism. The music is absolutely static, played flawlessly by maracas and four Farfisa organs. In Reich's own words, "The tones would simply begin in unison..., and then gradually extend out like a sort of horizontal bar graph in time."
Who better than Reich's own musicians could pull off such an amazing clinical performance of this music? New York resident ensemble Bang on a Can. A must have for any Reich enthusiast.
5.0 out of 5 stars Manhattan Strutting Music 7 May 2013
By Ariel Cinii - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I taped the first five sections of NY Counterpoint in the 80s from the NPR show, "New Sounds", and I played the tape the next day on my Walkman® while walking up 5th Avenue in NYC from one job interview to the next. I particularly recommend starting at Madison Sq. Park and proceeding north toward the Empire State Building at about 12:30-1 PM. Make sure it's a sunny day and the traffic will want to keep up with you.
4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some interesting works. Some uninteresting. 15 Nov 2001
By S. C Rice - Published on
Format:Audio CD
In my opinion, minimalist music definitely has its hits and misses. However, Steve Reich tends to weave far more aurally interesting patterns into his music than, say, Phillip Glass. On this CD is what I consider to be one of Reich's successes; the New York Counterpoint. This work for recorded clarinet soloist is able to hold its own as an interesting piece of music. It is in some ways reminiscent of Reich's `Music for 18 Instruments,' as there are droning pulses that appear periodically and contrapuntal repetitions. The movements each have a distinct character. The first is mysterious, the second contemplative and the third silly and carefree. The third movement also incorporates jazzish rhythms into the mix. This piece is a really excellent example of using minimal means to maximum effect.
The other pieces are less interesting. The `Octet' often drags and `Four Organs' definitely does, although it has a certain hypnotic quality that the Octet lacks. Four Organs is one of those pieces that created audience uproar when it was played in New York, so it's always interesting to hear what people fussed about. Overall, `Four Organs' is the earliest and most experimental piece. By contrast it is pretty rugged; the Hammond organs create a wall of homogenous sound that really starts to grate on you unless you stop waiting for it to change. The Octet, I think straddles the line between `New York....' and `Four Organs' both chronologically and in terms of the duration of repetitions. In `New York...' things change just when they become uninteresting. In `Four Organs' things don't change and you just need to adapt yourself to what is going on. `Octet' yields a little; it is not as mechanistic as `Four Organs,' but still leaves you getting bored with the events before they change. New York Counterpoint is worth it, and 'Four Organs' is historically interesting. Perhaps the octet is interesting filler.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Why would anyone buy this? 13 April 2013
By R. R. NOVAES - Published on
Format:Audio CD
To listen to this once in a lifetime is plenty. Yeah, minimalism, historical interest, curiosity, whatever. Go stream it. You'll learn something, but I bet you'll delete this album from your playlist the second it's done. You know people screamed to make Four Organs stop in NY? They were right. It is torture. And the other tracks are only slightly less boring and painful.
5 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is not bad... 20 Jun 2002
By A Customer - Published on
Format:Audio CD
This is, in my opinion not so good as Reich classic "Music for 18 mussicians" (I recommend Nonsuch version of that one because it is longer, more filled, has better sound than the others and sound IS importent for "cold" minimalist works I think).
Even if it not so good as "Music for 18 musicians" it is very good but I cant give THIS a five because composers/jazz musicians/rock band sometimes do masterpieces and sometimes not and this is, comparing to "Music for 18 musicians" not in the same class but it has a lot.
"New York counterpoint" reminds a BIT of piece mentioned above, "Eight lines" is a good one and "Four organs" could be annoying OR fun, depending on your mood.
This is something for both newies AND old Rech fans here but if you are completly new... start with "Music for 18 musicians" then go to "Triple Quartet" and THEN to this is my advice.
Dont let other bad reviews scare you about this. IT IS GOOD but it is a bit short (ca 45 minutes). Anyway it is intresting, fun and has a clear sound and it is very well performed.
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