Steve Reich – Music for 18 instruments
Music for 18 instruments is considered a minimalist classic. It pulls you in and keeps you moving. The musical themes are repeated making listening to it a particularly meditative experience.
It is classical music, but modern classical. It has obviously really good musicianship, but repetitive grooves that work for you without getting too clever or distracting, whilst at the same time being quite riveting. It’s probably not an album I’d listen to when I wasn’t working as it really sends you to that meditative place I don’t always want outside of work hours.
No lyrics, just orchestra.
There is a pace to this piece, but I am conscious that it seems to move in cycles as it plays. It is one of those albums that has a fast tempo that keeps you moving without overdoing it. I would say it is a driving piece of music. I certainly feel guilty when I’m not typing along to this.
Good to work to
Music for 18 instruments is consistently listed as one of the top albums to listen to when you’re writing, for good reason. There is nothing in this album to distract you. The musical motifs are present, and the tempo is driving. Like other classical music it’s not going to bother the hit parade, but it is music that sends you inside yourself, which is just where you want to be when you’re writing
Steve Reich is usually mentioned in the same breath as Phillip Glass. Reich and Glass are both minimalist composers. The only work of Glass I have on this site is Powaqqatsi. I have got other classical music but little in a similar vein to this album.
Something like “Music for 18 musicians” reminds me more of electronic music more than anything. The difference is that not many electronic albums sustain a motif the whole way through, although some do of course.
If you know any other albums of a similar nature that are good to write to please let me know and I’ll do a little piece on them.
The eightenn musicians in the Steve Reich Ensemble are
– Steve Reich – percussion (tuned drums, marimba), piano, whistling
– Pamela Wood Ambush – vocals
– Rebecca Armstrong – vocals (soprano)
– Marion Beckenstein – vocals (soprano)
– Bob Becker – percussion (tuned drums, marimba, xylophone)
– Phillip Bush – piano
– Jay Clayton – vocals (alto), piano
– Tim Ferchen – percussion (marimba, xylophone)
– Ben Harms – percussion (tuned drums, marimba)
– Russell Hartenberger – percussion (tuned drums, marimba, xylophone)
– Garry Kvistad – percussion (glockenspiel, marimba, xylophone), piano
– Jeanne Le Blanc – cello
– Richard Rood – violin
– Elizabeth Lim – violin
– Edward Niemann – piano
– James Preiss – percussion (tuned drums), vibraphone, piano
– Joseph Rasmussen – percussion
– Scott Rawls – viola
– Todd Reynolds – violin
– Cheryl Bensman Rowe – vocals (soprano)
– Gary Schall – percussion (tuned drums)
– Leslie Scott – clarinet, bass clarinet
– Mort Silver – piccolo
– Nurit Tilles – piano, electric organ
– David Van Tieghem – percussion (glockenspiel, marimba, xylophone, tuned drums, claves), piano
– Glen Velez – percussion (tuned drums)
– Thad Wheeler – percussion (tuned drums, glockenspiel, marimba, maracas)
– Evan Ziporyn – clarinet, bass clarinet
Although this album is the biggie he has a gazillion other works, I just don’t know any of them.
Where Can I buy it, and in what formats
You should be able to get this most places, It’s a bit pricey with Vinyl, but it’s defintely on iTunes. You might even get the chance to see it in concert.
Your not going to get much a better album to tap away to. The sound is completely immersive and just what you need when you need to block out the world. This is a really good album to work to. The motif takes you in and blocks everything else out.