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Tehillim Import

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Audio CD (12 April 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Bmg/Ecm
  • ASIN: B0000031RI
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 887,848 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Parts I & II - S. Reich
  2. Parts III &IV - S. Reich

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Format: Audio CD
'Tehillim' is another Reich favourite of mine. 'Tehillim' breaks from Reich's earlier works in lacking repetition of phrases. As in many of his later works, Reich goes back to his Jewish origins to find inspiration. Here soprano and alto voices sing psalms in Hebrew to the accompaniment of a repetitive percussion track. The result is utterly different from earlier Reich works, lyrical and harmonic. Peaceful shades into exultant with the final setting of 'Hallelujah'.
This version of 'Tehillim' by the Schonberg Ensemble is somewhat muddy and dark compared with the bright and crisp tones given to the piece by members of Steve Reich's own ensemble. I actually prefer the Reich Ensemble version, though both are good.
The bonus that you get with this version of Tehillim is the accompanying piece, 'Three Movements', a reworking of the pulsing themes from 'Desert Music'.
Personally, I'd be inclined to buy the other version of 'Tehillim', plus 'Desert Music', though I've got all three and listen to them all frequently.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9096a6e4) out of 5 stars 15 reviews
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x903b336c) out of 5 stars Yow! Gorgeous, lush non-liturgical music that is liturgical 5 July 2000
By David J. Huber - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Objectively speaking, this CD is brilliantly and perfectly recorded - the notes are all there, the performance is 100%, and more importantly, the recording engineer turned out a perfectly recorded and balanced CD.
I have not performed this piece, unlike the first two reviewers, but I heard it performed at BAM. Let me say that following a score and keeping one's place while simply listening to a recording is super difficult - but keeping one's place while performing, well, I've never seen a group of performers concentrate so intently on the music as I did at the performance, and that's *not* due to any lack of skill from the musicians. Steve Reich's music is the kind that if you're performing and lose your place, you're done: you sit out at least until the next section. There is no forgiveness for being off by so much as a sixteenth note.
I have followed Reich and his music for 16 years. Much of his music moves me to tears (cf. Music for 18 musicians, The Cave, and Music in Four Sections). But Tehillim (the Hebrew word that Christians translate as "Psalms") I find to be his most beautiful (that's a subjective rating). Although Reich did not compose this as liturgical music, of course it could be used as such, given its holy writ text. If I may climb my theological/liturgical soapbox, Tehillim represents, in fact, how exciting liturgical music *could* be if the Church were but willing. Not only is this music modern (and thus more relevant for today's Church), but it is an incredibly sensitive and moving setting of two psalms. I have listened to it probably 100 times, and each listening still brings tears - the tears that exceptional music brings. Tehillim is beautiful, and that's the highest compliment one can give to any music. It is also challenging and different, and will cause you to rethink your whole idea of what music is and can be, and especially what *liturgical* (Christian, Jewish, and Muslim) music could be.
Musicologically, Tehillim is incredible. The scoring for is 4 female voices, polyphonic and Renaissance-like, with a constant polyrhythmic percussion background (clapping, tuned tambourines, marimbas, maracas, vibraphone, crotales, and string and synthesizer drones among other techniques). The percussion will excite and fill you with joy (and fill you with awe that any group of humans can actually perform it). The vocals will leave you wondering how a performance so beautifully and perfectly precise could come from anything merely human.
Psychomusicologically and physiomusicologically, after every listening of this psalm setting, I feel that all is right with the world. If the final "Hallelujah", one of music's most beatific moments, doesn't lead you to praise God, Allah, or some kind of universal "Other", then, well, I'd be surprised.
This recording belongs in your collection. If you are not a fan of minimalism or Reich or modern music, or are afraid because of it's "religious" overtones, give it a try anyway. It's an absolutely important piece for your music library.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x903b33c0) out of 5 stars two recordings conflated 22 Jun. 2012
By enthusiast - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Just a warning -- the reviews for two completely different recordings have been combined. You will see the same reviews for the ECM and Nonesuch releases of Tehillim, which is really confusing, since some reviews blast one in favor of the other but only reference "this" and "the other" recording. For what it's worth, I treasure (five stars) the original ECM recording (blue cover) of Tehillim featuring Steve Reich and Musicians The Nonesuch recording uses other forces (though confusingly with Reich himself on the cover) and the singing is too... "hoot"-y for me (I give it three stars). And like others, Three Movements doesn't do much for me.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x903b37f8) out of 5 stars Excellent music - it happens to be minimalist 2 Aug. 2000
By M. J. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Minimalist music easily slips into mere repetition even it the best of composers - a fact that makes some people unwilling to give it a fair hearing. However, Reich shows here that minimalist music can be precisely the right setting for the Psalms. On the cd The Sacred Bridge, you can hear the close resemblance between Gregorian chant settings and Hebrew chant settings for the Psalms. I believe the best way to describe Reich's piece is as a new chant form - minimalistic. The instrumentation is very well chosen - 4 women's voices, a variety of percussion instruments, clarinet, flute, piccolo, oboe, English horn, violins, viola, cello, bass and electric organs. The effect is an agelessness of the sound that is very appropriate to the Psalms. The piece appears to be less repetitive than most minimalist work - variation and canon-like passages predominating.
An excellent addition to the sacred music repetoire.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x903b3bc4) out of 5 stars Incredible 25 Jun. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I also performed this piece under the supervision and coaching of S. Reich, and I must say it was an extraordinary experience. The previous reviewer said it was Reich's most interesting work "but that's not saying much". Even though he/she gave it 5 stars, this statement might scare some listeners... It is one of the most intense performance experiences I've had, and I highly recommend this particular recording of it. This is truly a wonderful voyage.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x903b3954) out of 5 stars Reich's most interesting work, but that's not saying much 23 April 1999
By Jimmy Lin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Reich's "Tehillim" is not classified as a minimalist work by Reich. However, for the rest of us, it comes pretty darned close.
I played principal violin in the Boston premiere of this work and, in preparation for a second concert, met the man himself.
It's an enchanting piece, but like Reich's other longer pieces, it does get old after a while.
A useful introduction to the minimalist movement. Certainly one of the more interesting works to come out of the genre.
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