“Runner” by Steve Reich, “Music for Ensemble and Orchestra”, recorded by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Susanna Mälkki, scheduled for September 30 on Nonesuch


“Runner” by Steve Reich, “Music for Ensemble and Orchestra”, recorded by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Susanna Mälkki, scheduled for September 30 on Nonesuch

Nonesuch Records Releases Steve Reich’s First Recordings runner (2016) and Music for ensemble and orchestra (2018), performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and conducted by Susanna Mälkki, available digitally and on CD September 30, 2022; a vinyl LP version will be released on December 2. Album pre-orders are available here. A track from the album, Rider: I. Sixteenthscan be heard here:

Reich says runner is written “for a large ensemble of winds, percussion, pianos and strings. While the tempo remains more or less constant, there are five movements, played without a pause, which are based on different note durations. First sixteenth notes, then irregularly accented eighth notes, then a very slowed down version of the standard Ghana bell pattern in quarters, fourth a return to irregularly accented eighth notes, and finally a return to sixteenth notes but now played as pulses by the winds as long as a breath will sustain them comfortably. The title was suggested by the fast opening and my awareness that, like a runner, I would have to pace the piece to reach a successful conclusion.

Music for ensemble and orchestra is an extension of the baroque concerto grosso where there is more than one soloist”, continues the composer. “Here there are twenty soloists, all regular members of the orchestra, including first strings and winds, as well as two vibraphones and two pianos. The piece is in five movements, although the tempo never changes, only the note value of the constant pulsation in the pianos. Thus, an arc shape: sixteenths, eighths, quarters, eighths, sixteenths. Music for ensemble and orchestra is modeled on my runnerwhich has the same form in five movements.

Nonesuch has recorded every new piece of Steve Reich music since 1985, starting with desert music and continues until 2018 Pulse/Quartetculminating in twenty-two albums and the two box sets Steps in 2006 and Works: 1965-1995 in 1997. More recently, the label released their Reich/Richterperformed by the Ensemble intercontemporain and conducted by George Jackson, in June 2022. Time (London) said: “What a pleasure…to be able to focus…on the music, delivered here with a clever blend of pinpoint precision and reverberating haze by 14 members of…Ensemble Intercontemporain…The more carefully you listen, the more the subtleties emerge among the moving and intersecting textures and phrases, sometimes colored with a sweet melancholy… but resolutely optimistic at the end. Reich/Richter is an ear-tickling tonic and a happy companion to Reich’s recently published book, Conversations.” Nonesuch will publish a collection of Reich’s complete works in 2023.

Reich published a book earlier this year, Conversations, which includes dialogues with former collaborators, other composers, musicians and visual artists who have been influenced by his work, including: David Lang, Brian Eno, Richard Serra, Michael Gordon, Michael Tilson Thomas, Russell Hartenberger, Robert Hurwitz, Stephen Sondheim, Jonny Greenwood, David Harrington, Elizabeth Lim-Dutton, David Robertson, Micaela Haslam, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Julia Wolfe, Nico Muhly, Beryl Korot, Colin Currie and Brad Lubman. The the wall street journal called the book “a testimony to the influence of an idea, which triggered a cultural shift”, and the New York Times said, “The joy of the book is to hear artists from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds … rave about their relationship to Reich’s music and how it influenced their own creative processes.”

Steve Reich has been called “America’s greatest living composer” (Voice of the village), “the most original musical thinker of our time” (New Yorker), and “among the great composers of the century” (New York Times). His music has influenced composers and traditional musicians around the world. Music for 18 musicians and Different trains won him two Grammy Awards, and in 2009, his Double Sextet wins the Pulitzer Prize. Reich’s documentary video opera works—The cave and three tales, produced in collaboration with videographer Beryl Korot, have been performed on four continents. His recent work Quartetfor percussionist Colin Currie, sold out two consecutive concerts at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall shortly after tens of thousands at the Glastonbury Festival heard Jonny Greenwood (of Radiohead) play Electric counterpoint followed by the London Sinfonietta performing his Music for 18 musicians.

In 2012, Reich received the Gold Medal in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He also received the Praemium Imperiale in Tokyo, the Polar Music Prize in Stockholm, the BBVA Award in Madrid and the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale. He was appointed Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters and received honorary doctorates from the Royal College of Music in London, the Juilliard School and the Liszt Academy in Budapest, among others. “There are only a handful of living composers who can legitimately claim to have changed the direction of musical history and Steve Reich is one of them,” says the Guardian.

Redefining what an orchestra can be, the Los Angeles Philharmonic (LA Phil) is as vibrant as Los Angeles, one of the most open and vibrant cities in the world. Led by Music and Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, this internationally acclaimed orchestra harnesses the transformative power of live music to build community, foster intellectual and artistic growth, and nurture the creative spirit. This is the orchestra’s third recent recording on the label; the others were pieces by Louis Andriessen The only and world theater. Additionally, the Los Angeles Philharmonic recordings of Should the gospel according to the other Mary and the devil have all the right tunes?with Yuja Wang, released on Deutsche Grammophon, are included this year Complete Works of John Adams box. Nonesuch also released an LA Phil recording of Adams Naive and sentimental music in 2002.

Susanna Mälkki is sought after at the highest level by symphony orchestras and opera houses around the world. About to begin her final season as conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, she concludes a seven-year tenure with a distinctive dynamism and imaginative flair in her programming. In addition to a full season in Finland, she will lead the Helsinki Orchestra on tour at the prestigious Lucerne and Edinburgh Festivals, Carnegie Hall in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington this season.

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