Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Steve Reich, Double Sextet / Radio Rewrite, Ensemble Signal, Brad Lubman

Here we have another nice one to celebrate Steve Reich's 80th birthday year, namely Ensemble Signal's personal take on two Reich perennials, Double Sextet / Radio Rewrite (Harmonia Mundi 907671). The "Double Sextet" dates from 2007, "Radio" from 2012.  Both works reassert Reich's rhythmic centrality while giving the harmonic-melodic subtleties of his later period a somewhat more secondary role.

Ensemble Signal and conductor Brad Lubman are very much in their element for both works. They relish the driving pulsations and pronounced accentuations of the works to give us a fully satisfying take on these gems.

As usual Reich never allows himself a banal phrase in these, and at the same time every phrase bears the stamp of his original musical identity. As always, a superior inventive brilliance distinguishes Reich from some of his colleagues and imitators. These infectiously joyful performances are a timely reminder of just why he is the most important of the so-called minimalists. Happy birthday Maestro Reich!

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