Reich: Pulse / Quartet

Reich: Pulse / Quartet cover
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Reich: Pulse / Quartet
International Contemporary Ensemble, Colin Currie Group

[ Nonesuch / Warner Music / CD ]

Release Date: Friday 2 February 2018

Pulse/Quartet collates two previously performed pieces, Quartet and Pulse. The former was performed in 2013 by the Colin Currie Group, and the latter was played in 2015 by the International Contemporary Ensemble. (Both ensembles replayed the compositions for the album.) Reich has described Quartet as one of his more complex pieces. "It frequently changes key," he says, "and often breaks off continuity to pause or take up new material. Though the parts are not unduly difficult, it calls for a high level of ensemble virtuosity." Of Pulse, a "reaction" to Quartet, Reich said: "In Pulse I felt the need to stay put harmonically and spin out smoother wind and string melodic lines in canon over a constant pulse in the electric bass and or piano. [...] All in all, a calmer more contemplative piece."

Gramophone Award Nomination 2018 - Contemporary

"The International Contemporary Ensemble make the wistful Pulse (premiered 2015) sing, with its spiralling, inquisitive strings, completely free of the tense nervousness of some of Reich's more repetitive work. It's a less complex listen than Quartet (2013), a lightly jazzy essay in key-confounding hypnosis on piano and vibraphone" Guardian

"Pulse exudes a restrained, valedictory quality that partly stems from the way in which it briefly journeys through the main elements of Reich's language...[Quartet] is a very different composition to Pulse: rhythmically assertive, edgy and full of sharp juxtapositions. Both performances are excellent." Gramophone

"Colin Currie Group's pianos and marimbas form a impressively organic body, swinging jazzy riffs with masterly skill. While the outer movements dance, with irregular syncopation and open, ever-shifting harmonies, the middle movement finds a glassy stillness, the marimbas beguiling and translucent. What lingers are those moments of intoxicating hush." BBC Music Five Stars

Steve Reich - Quartet: III. Fast (Official Audio)