Editors’ Notes Though Steve Reich had been an innovator for years before composing Music for 18 Musicians in the mid-'70s, this is the work that would be regarded as his masterpiece—a massively influential piece with a profound effect on everything from techno to post-rock. It expanded on Reich's earlier ideas about repetitive, interlocking motifs that evolve slowly over time. This was the first time Reich had applied those ideas to such a large ensemble, and when it earned renown it introduced a whole new musical approach to the larger world. Like some of Reich's other '70s pieces, 18 Musicians is influenced by his study of Balinese gamelan music's complex but organic structure. This work is divided into 14 sections—a dozen that revolve around a small set of chords, featuring strings, pianos, woodwinds, tuned percussion, and vocals in various combinations, bookended by the rhythmic insistence of two "Pulses" sections. Throughout 18 Musicians the length of the phrases is dependent on the players' own natural breath capacities, lending a very human feel to the often otherworldly atmospheres of the piece.

SONG
Music for 18 Musicians: Pulses
1
5:03
 
Music for 18 Musicians: Section I
2
3:59
 
Music for 18 Musicians: Section II
3
4:33
 
Music for 18 Musicians: Section IIIA
4
4:09
 
Music for 18 Musicians: Section IIIB
5
4:20
 
Music for 18 Musicians: Section IV
6
5:34
 
Music for 18 Musicians: Section V
7
6:01
 
Music for 18 Musicians: Section VI
8
4:47
 
Music for 18 Musicians: Section VII
9
4:06
 
Music for 18 Musicians: Section VIII
10
3:28
 
Music for 18 Musicians: Section IX
11
5:12
 
Music for 18 Musicians: Section X
12
1:18
 
Music for 18 Musicians: Section XI
13
4:23
 
Music for 18 Musicians: Pulses
14
4:28
 

More by Bill Ryan & Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble

Albums You May Also Like