Composer Steve Reich's new Nonesuch album, "Triple Quartet," is his first release to include new compositions since "City Life" in 1996. The title piece was written for the Kronos Quartet in 1999 and
Composer Steve Reich's new Nonesuch album, "Triple Quartet," is his first release to include new compositions since "City Life" in 1996. The title piece was written for the Kronos Quartet in 1999 and performed by them on this recording. The other works on the disc -- "Electric Guitar Phase," "Music for Large Ensemble," and "Tokyo/Vermont Counterpoint" -- are adaptations of older Reich compositions, performed by committed younger soloists and ensembles.
Reich's scores have often served as a fertile source for adaptation. In "Electric Guitar Phase" -- guitarist Dominic Frasca's take on Reich's 1967 work "Violin Phase" -- Reich was able to see his own work in a new light. "I've always had an ambivalent attitude toward 'Violin Phase,' but this [version] really works," Reich says. "It comes on like gangbusters; the phrasing is dynamic and exciting. It's nice when somebody who wasn't even born when the piece was composed comes up with something insightful and appropriate."
Frasca realized the piece via multi-track recording, but talks are under way for a live performance by a star-studded quartet, including progressive rock guitarists Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew of King Crimson and Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth. In the meantime, Reich is at work on "Dolly," the third part of "video opera" triptych "Three Tales." The completed trilogy will be unveiled in May 2002 at the Vienna Festival, with additional performances scheduled across Europe, at Spoleto in South Carolina, and at the Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York.