Steve Reich’s 1970s minimalist classic Drumming is the first release on Colin Currie’s new record label, with a stunning performance by his group of percussionists.
The first release on Colin Currie’s new recording label is Steve Reich’s Drumming, the work his group performed at its first concert and which has been a mainstay of its repertoire ever since. The new disc combines the percussionists of the Colin Currie Group with Synergy Vocals (CCR0001).
In its review, the Financial Times describes how "the Colin Currie Group was formed in 2006 specifically to play Drumming and this recording draws on their experience in perfecting its intricate rhythmic patterns. Composed in 1970/1, Reich’s Drumming is one of the first, large-scale achievements of minimalism to have made a lasting impact. Reich wrote it after a trip to Ghana and its hypnotic writing is part African rhythms of the earth, part Tibetan timeless mysticism, part simply a reaction against the European avant-garde."
Colin Currie writes in the liner notes that Drumming is "a central pillar in Reich’s substantial output… a thrillingly unclassifiable musical colossus, presenting robustly avant-garde attributes and positively teeming with energy… Performing the piece is continually fascinating: years of experience playing it in a wide variety of venues and spaces has presented us with multifaceted insights into what the music can offer."
"What was once a rarely heard and even more rarely recorded score is now regularly played and recognised as one of the key pieces in Reich’s development, signalling the end of his period of 'pure' minimalism, and pointing the way to the more complex, multi-stranded works of the 1970s. At 55 minutes, the Currie group’s performance is one of the shortest on record, but certainly it lacks nothing in sheer physicality and visceral intensity as a result."
"The music goes on a journey from strict mathematical organisation to an aurally seductive conclusion. After starting with four pairs of bongo drums, it progressively adds tuned percussion instruments, mainly marimbas and glockenspiels, until all combine in a final movement that is an alluring blend of sonorities, a first for Reich at the time… The perspectives of the recording combine close-up detail and a sense of space. The percussionists and the wordless voices of Synergy Vocals alike come across with a vivid presence."
"This performance from the Colin Currie Group, seamlessly compiled from a studio session of 32 takes, is thunderously exciting. The recording, too, thrusts us right into the action as Currie and colleagues thwack and tinkle at varying speeds on bongo drums, glockenspiels and marimbas."
The Colin Currie Group was formed in 2006 for a performance of Drumming at the BBC Proms to celebrate the 70th birthday of Steve Reich. In the subsequent decade, the group have performed Drumming around the world. They have expanded their repertoire to include many of Reich’s most popular works, including Music for 18 Musicians, Sextet, Tehillim and Music for Pieces of Wood and are privileged to have frequently had the composer present when rehearsing and performing these works. In 2014 the Group premiered Steve Reich’s Quartet (for two pianos and two vibraphones), dedicated by Reich to Colin Currie. Since the premiere at London’s Southbank Centre, the group have given multiple performances of this work, including across the UK, Europe, Asia and America.
> Buy the new Drumming recording
> Watch a video from the recording sessions
Fans of Reich’s Drumming can also buy a T-Shirt showing the percussionist graphic from the composer’s score. The exclusive T-Shirt is available in black and white and a range of sizes.
> Buy the T-Shirt
> Further information on Work: Drumming
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