Steve Reich: Sextet - Six Marimbas

Steve Reich: Sextet - Six Marimbas

From Drumming to Music for 18 Musicians and beyond, percussion is central to Steve Reich's sound. That has seldom been more effectively underlined than on this 1986 album. Sextet features four percussionists playing multiple marimbas, vibraphones, and more, plus two keyboardists. The self-explanatory Six Marimbas is the percussive adaptation of Six Pianos, which Reich wrote in 1973. Reich's work has almost always been about blurring lines between melodies and between rhythms. But on Sextet, even the boundaries between instruments are obscured—the piano plays percussively, the synthesizer employs an organ-like tone, and the vibes are bowed to produce elongated, synth-like sounds. The instrumental roles are clearly defined on Six Marimbas, of course, but that doesn't keep the melodic lines from freely intermingling in classic Reich fashion, frequently evoking his aforementioned classic works from the '70s. And while Sextet features more harmonic development, both pieces here take you on a transformative journey.

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