Sunday, February 17, 2008

Above is an ambient light show video featuring music by Steve Reich. Different Trains from America - Before The War Kronos Quartet: David Harrington on violin, John Sherba on violin, Hank Duff on viola, Joan Jeanreanaud on cello.

Reich is unafraid of the big themes of politics and history. One of his most influential pieces is Different Trains (1988) - a haunting work juxtaposing sounds of his childhood train journeys between New York and Los Angeles, alongside those made by Europe's Jews to the gas chambers - it uses the real voices of eye-witnesses.

Different Trains, marked a new compositional method, rooted in It's Gonna Rain and Come Out, in which speech recordings generate the musical material for musical instruments. The New York Times hailed Different Trains as "a work of such astonishing originality that breakthrough seems the only possible description....possesses an absolutely harrowing emotional impact." In 1990, Mr. Reich received a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Composition for Different Trains as recorded by the Kronos Quartet on the Nonesuch label.

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