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Three Tales (PAL) CD+DVD

3 customer reviews

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Amazon's Steve Reich Store


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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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Product details

  • Performer: Synergy Vocals
  • Conductor: Bradley Lubman
  • Composer: Steve Reich
  • Audio CD (20 Oct. 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: CD+DVD
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B0000BZ4YJ
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 284,179 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Hindenburg: Nibelung Zeppelin
2. Hindenburg: A Very Impressive Thing to See
3. Hindenburg: I Couldn't Understand It
4. Bikini: In the Air - 1
5. Bikini: The Atoll - 1
6. Bikini: On the Ships - 1
7. Bikini: In the Air - 2
8. Bikini: The Atoll - 2
9. Bikini: On the Ships - 2
10. Bikini: In the Air - 3
See all 19 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. It Could (DVD)
2. Nibelung (DVD)
3. A Very Impressive (DVD)
4. I Couldn't Understand It (DVD)
5. In the Air 1 (DVD)
6. Atoll 1 (DVD)
7. On the Ships 1 (DVD)
8. In the Air 2 (DVD)
9. Atoll 2 (DVD)
10. On the Ships 2 (DVD)
See all 20 tracks on this disc

Product Description

-three tales (cd & dvd)steve reich (artist), bradley lubman (artist), todd reynolds (artist), beryl korot (artist)product details * audio cd (august 19, 2003) * number of discs: 2 * label: nonesuch * asin: b0000an4f5 * in-print editions: mp3 download * average customer review: 3.9 out of 5 stars see all reviews (17 customer reviews) ------disc: 1 amazon music sampler1. hindenburg: nibelung zeppelin listen2. hindenburg: a very impressive thing to see listen3. hindenburg: i couldn't understand it listen4. bikini: in the air 1 listen5. bikini: the atoll 1 listen6. bikini: on the ships 1 listen7. bikini: in the air 2 listen8. bikini: the atoll 2 listen9. bikini: on the ships 2 listen10. bikini: in the air 3 listensee all 19 tracks on this discdisc: 21. hindenburg: it could not hav

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. M. D. Carnaffin on 31 May 2006
Format: Audio CD
If you're looking for inspirational and tuneful music don't waste your money on Three Tales but if you want to hear - and watch - something that's thought provoking and intelligent you'll probably enjoy it.

This package comprises a CD and a DVD produced by Beryl Korot which compliments Reich's musical score. There is an additional track on the DVD and a number of additional features.

The idea of video `Music theatre' works well however, it must be said there are no new compositional techniques offered. The DVD is the best medium to appreciate the work however music contained on the CD stands up well in isolation. Initially I was surprised that the visual component appeared so conservative but on reflection it's starkness and stilted delivery suits the rigours of minimalism.

The theme explored in Three Tales is `...the differing human attitudes to technology' using the crash of the Hindenburg, the atomic experiments at Bikini atoll and the cloning of Dolly the sheep as `signposts'. I found the choice of events dismal but they're Reich's prerogative so it's up to you if you buy into his reasons for using them.

All three pieces use the spoken word (sourced from interviews or period news reports) spliced together with some quite interesting musical compositions and slightly one dimensional choral arrangements. The final piece `Dolly' makes the most comprehensive use of `phased' interview material. I felt that Reich's attempt to give the feeling of a chronological continuum through the three pieces was largely successful and the juxtaposition of scientific and biblical references was particularly striking

Three Tales falls firmly within the genre associated with Reich if you like his other stuff you'll like this, if not you won't.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 5 Nov. 2003
Format: Audio CD
Listen to most 'serious' classical music of the last 30 years and chances are you'll be exposed to much noisy angst as composers make there works more and more complex and less and less involving.
Steve Reich of course has always kept to his minimalist ideals but in recent years has allied this to some very profound ideas.
'Different trains' looked at train journeys of differing peoples especially the Jews being taken to there deaths.
'Desert music' used the profound poetry of William Carlos Williams to question our relationship with the planet and now comes this momentous work.
'Three tales' looks at advances in technology and how they have impacted on human life. The first movement considers the Hindenburg and although this at first seems a strange choice we have to remember that in its day it was revolutionary , making its sudden, shocking confligaration all the more powerful.
He then considers the atomic tests on bikini atoll which is a more obvious choice , especially as we know the awful consequences that arose from the making of the atom bomb.
The final movement 'Dolly' is perhaps the most inventive and thought provoking of the trilogy. considering aspects of gene manipulation and cloning.
This is done in a 'vox pop' style with contributions from leading scientific thinkers juxtaposed with Reich's familiar pulsing music.
Suffice to say that from the initial 'Vocoded' intro to the last word I was enthralled and very moved .
This is an awesome work and covers more depth and humanity in its course than many composers forcing orchestras to sound like industrial plants could ever achieve.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Martin Smith VINE VOICE on 6 Oct. 2004
Format: Audio CD
If you've heard "The Cave", "Different Trains" or "City Life" will already know Mr Reich's groundbreaking technique of matching the pitch and rythyms of his music to the vocal samples he has collected. It's getting a little familiar, now, though, and despite his worthy attempts to add a little spice (on this record he manipulates the samples rather than the music) it's still very familiar. However, that's not to say that there isn't some excellent (and spooky) music on this album. Vocal samples are slowed down to the point of unrecognisability; his trademark marimbas jangle away and the chosen subject matter is very interesting (here he looks at technology). Fans with a DVD player should not hesitate, as this comes with a free DVD containing all the tracks from the CD, with visuals, plus several extra tracks and other bonus material.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 18 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
An interesting work that I will watch again. 8 Jan. 2004
By Kevin Currie-Knight - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
As I'm sure many have noticed, this seems to be the fruitful time to produce multlimedia works to do with technology and alienation. First, Glass and Reggio's Naqoyquatsi, and now 'Three Tales'. I'm sure many review-readers wonder, and a review below asked the question, so I'll answer it. Is this just a -qatsi rip off? Should one simply buy the Glass and skip the Reich? No. These are completely different works - both with seperate strenghts and weaknesses. While the -qatsi films - particularly Naqoyqatsi is dominated by larger than life visuals with the music providing an instrumental backdrop (albeit an active one), with this film, the impact of the music and the visual is about equal. Short answer: buy both if you want both, but the two are definitely not 'clones' of eachother.
Now for my obligatory disclosure. Out of the two discs in this set - one CD with the music alone, and one DVD with the entire music and visual combo, my four stars is entirely for THE LAST HALF OF THE DVD! That's only the last 'tale'. Yes, it is that good! For the first two 'tales' Reich sounds very much as he did in "The Cave" (and we all politely smiled at that one!). Though, I'll say that the music and visual go well together in all the tales, the music for the first two is not to my taste. Jumpy, bombastic, and jerky - and why does every dang chord have to be diminished?!?
Now to the third tale. "Dolly" pertains to the cloned sheep and the 'tale' has more to do with genomics and the prospect of artificial intellegence than with cloning per se. The music sees Reich returning back to his 'middle days' a la 'Sextet'. Here the music has a steady pulse and is primarily mallet percussion and piano. On top of this, we have short excerpts from interviews of scientists that Reich and Barot did. As one who is quite read on science I enjoyed seeing the likes of Jaron Lanier (pioneer of virtual reality), Richard Dawkins (who recieves brutal treatment, perhaps unjustly), Marvin Minsky, and Steven Pinker. As I am fairly read on science, I do feel that Reich took many of their quotes out of context (remember, we only see short excerpts) but not enough to subtract stars.
So as not to ramble, let's sum up. A.) this film is not a '-quatsi on the cheap'. The visual is completely different and is somewhat similar, albeit more high tech, than "The Cave". B.) I did not find the musical style of the first two 'tales' to my taste as they are a cross between 'The Cave', and 'City Life'. C.) The third movement alone is worth the price of this disc/DVD set, particularly if you are interested in science and its personalities.
Go get it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Don't miss out on some of Reich's best work: listen and listen again, without preconceived expectations! 7 Aug. 2008
By M. B Coleman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Steve Reich seems to suffer from having been a prodigious and prolific talent in the 70's. Often those who discover his work like to pigeonhole him as a 'minimalist', and cite his groundbreaking earlier ensemble work as his best, and many of the works that followed as inferior.

I love 'Music for 18 Musicians', 'Drumming', 'Mallet Instruments' and all of these other pieces (even the relatively austere and slightly brain-melting 'four organs'), but what people seem to miss is that Reich is a pioneer, and there is no way he can continue to achieve his best if he simply repeats himself endlessly until the end of his time as a composer.

Instead, he has developed, and continues to do so on Three Tales.

Many of his more contemporary works (arguably from around 'Different Trains' onwards) are considerably more ambitious, often more musically complex, and, I imagine, more demanding for many listeners who are more accustomed to the pure zen beauty of '18 musicians', et al. This does not mean that they are not less rewarding.

I too discovered Reich through his earlier work, and I was a little alienated by 'Three Tales' in particular, as well as other more vocal works like 'the Cave' and 'Proverb'. The vocals seemed jarring and unambiguous, and the music was stark: intense in a very different way. However, my respect for Reich drove me to listen further, and I have grown to appreciate and enjoy Reich's modern works as the equal of his earlier successes.

Three Tales, in particular, is a staggering piece of art, which asks some pertinient questions about post-industrial life, faith and science through some of the most wonderful music I've ever heard. By turns Reich delivers bombast, tragedy and irereverent humour blended with serious social commentary. It's fascinating stuff, and much like 'the Cave', has rich levels of meaning.

Reich continues to deliver the goods: 'Daniel Variations' and 'You Are' deserve unprejudiced ears, and offer as much reward to listeners as any of his early work.

The only reason I give a 4 star score for 'Three Tales' is that the video art seems inferior to the music, to me. I'm not certain that it would be possible to create visuals that would be the equal of Reich's score, but the dated computer graphics that dominate the DVD seem weak to me in places, particularly during the first two of the 'tales'. 'Dolly' is much more interesting to me, visually. Nonetheless, I still watch the DVD, and I consider it a worthwhile purchase.

Listen / watch and enjoy this truly original piece!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
What about Three Tales makes it 28 Dec. 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Three Tales is a video/music work.
In the first part of the work, (Hindenberg blimp crashing) archive video and audio footage of the Zepplin, newspapers, radio broadcasts, and even a small interview with a German woman, are used in original form and in mass variations. All of these are interpolated musically and visually.
In the second part of the work, archive video and audio again are used - stills and video are combined in many instances. This section deals with the U.S. government's atomic bomb tests in the Bikini Atoll. Interpolation of audio and video.
In the third section of the work (Dolly), many important scientists and computer researchers are interviewed. These interviews not only adress the central moral and ethical issues of our times but also they are spliced and mixed up together. There is a complex texture of idea vs. idea, as various scientists and experts give their opinions. All of this is woven into a very nice video and audio presentation.
The central issue of this work is stated very well in a recurring theme througout - the choice Adam and Eve were given - wether to eat the fruit of knowledge or not to eat it. Here we are again under the tree, at the end of the day. (and so on)
I believe that this work does a very fine job at expressing man's modern dilemma - that is - will our curiosity end up killing the cat? This piece is, above all, a warning - caution. This is not your average piece of art - this goes beyond - watch out - it just might fly, very fast,over head. Be warned.
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
On Steve Reich's "Three Tales" 3 Nov. 2005
By Arnold Magnet - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Weeks before seeing Three Tales I heard its score. The music Reich composed for this opera is slightly less interesting than anything he has published previously. It features incessantly repeating syncopated phrases comprised of annoying melodies tossed upon stagnant, droning tones. This is the best that can be noted of the work. Mr. Reich uses Three Tales to expand his compositional methods into the modern age of the early 1990's. Time-stretched vocals are in every piece. A computerized voice (as that available standard on every Macintosh computer) sings several solos in the Dolly act. Uncomplicated, novice drum programming also hammers into numerous pieces - this is particularly disappointing as Mr. Reich is a competent percussionist himself. From onset to finish the score falls victim to a toybox of mundane digital audio gimmicks - perhaps impressive to the ignorant elite of la musique nouveau but thoroughly boring to anyone willing to acknowledge the radio music of the last two decades [see N'Sync's BT produced "Pop", Christina Aguilera's "Genie in a Bottle", Britney Spears' Neptunes produced "Slave", or anything produced for Madonna by William Orbit for far more progressive and successful attempts at integrating DSP (Digital Signal Processing) techniques into music]. Reich and his engineers should understand that these audio effects are not an end in and of themselves, and it shows little respect for the listener to try to pass these off as such.

The greater failing of Three Tales is the video component produced by Beryl Korot. I want to write only a few words on this piece as I have already spent more time on this review than a first grader with iMovie would require to reproduce Ms. Korot's cut and paste disaster. In my life I have watched my father slowly succumb to bone cancer, I see daily attrocities broadcast on the television news and the uncut footage on HBO or the internet. Yet, not for its content but for its design Ms. Korot's video for Three Tales is perhaps the worst thing ever to have struck mine eyes.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Seeing Live is a Treat 8 Sept. 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I saw Three Tales in a "live" screening (without the optional live performers) at a festival this past June in Buffalo (in fact, the festival was named, "June in Buffalo"). Reich was one of five resident composers; others included Philip Glass, David Felder, John Corigliano, and Charles Wuorinen.
Reich was given an evening of performances by the Buffalo resident performers which included his classic Piano Phase, the more recent Triple Quartet (this version for 12 strings), and of course Three Tales. In fact, Reich's wife, Beryl Korot, the artist responsible for the unforgetable visuals in Three Tales, was also at the festival and was interviewed along with Reich.
Although I have not yet purchased this particular CD/DVD set, I intend to do so immediately on account of its brilliant combination of music, visual art, and intellectual "storyline." Covering a range in topics from the nuclear testing at Bikini, the Hindenburg (excuse my spelling if it is incorrect) Disaster, and cloning, this politically charged work leaves most audience members touched in an excitingly new way.
Reich's music is captivating and a significant bit "newer" than is typical in his evolution from piece to piece.
I highly recommend this possible future masterpiece to anyone interested in good art.
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