Reich: Eight Lines & City Life / Simon, Holst Sinfonietta, Et Al

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Steve Reich is universally acknowledged as one of the foremost exponents of minimalism, arguably the most significant stylistic trend in late 20th-century music. This chronological survey shows how Reich’s innate curiosity has taken his work far beyond such musical boundaries. One of the first fruits of Reich’s creative quest is ‘Music for Two of More Pianos,’ in which the influence of Morton Feldman and jazz pianist Bill Evans can be heard. The rhythmic and flamboyant ‘Eight Lines’ comes from the true heyday of minimalism, while ‘Vermont’ and ‘New York Counterpoint’ both explore webs of phased patterns created by multi-tracked instruments. ‘City Life’ is a dramatic set of impressions of New York, vividly weaving sampled speech and street sounds into a work with symphonic depth of range and expression.


This generously filled new release includes compositions from a wide swath of Reich’s career, from Music for Two or More Pianos from 1964 to City Life from 1995. All of the selections are clearly minimalist in that they employ simple chord structures, rhythmic patterns that revolve around a discernible driving pulse, and an abundance of energy. The earliest piece, for pianos, is the most abstract-sounding, but after something of a slow start, it picks up energy as it as it moves along. Reich’s compositions and these spirited performers project an undeniable feeling of life-affirming joy, a sense of sheer exuberance, and an expression of gratitude for the ability to create, perform, and enjoy the sounds of music and integrate them with the with the rhythms of life. This is a disc well worth an audition even if you have listened to a Philip Glass recording or two in the past and concluded that minimalism was not for you…

-- Classical Candor (Karl W. Nehring)

Product Description:

  • Release Date: December 04, 2020

  • Catalog Number: 8559682

  • UPC: 636943968222

  • Label: Naxos

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Period: 20th Century

  • Composer: Steve Reich

  • Conductor: Klaus Simon

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Holst-Sinfonietta


  1. Music for 2 or More Pianos

    Composer: Steve Reich

    Performer: Klaus Simon (Piano), Jörg Schweinbenz (Piano)

  2. Eight Lines

    Composer: Steve Reich

    Ensemble: Holst-Sinfonietta

    Conductor: Klaus Simon

  3. Vermont Counterpoint

    Composer: Steve Reich

    Ensemble: Anne Parisot (Flute), Delphine Roche (Flute)

  4. New York Counterpoint

    Composer: Steve Reich

    Performer: Andrea Nagy (Clarinets)

  5. City Life

    Composer: Steve Reich

    Ensemble: Holst-Sinfonietta

    Conductor: Klaus Simon