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Saturday
Nov052016

STEVE REICH - The ECM Recordings

"There was a time when Steve Reich had few champions. Now he wins the Pulitzer Prize, collaborates with Jonny Greenwood, and on various anniversaries of the composer’s birth, concert halls the world over schedule celebrations of his catalog. But in the late ’60s and early ’70s, during his hardcore minimalist period, labels offered only sporadic commitments, including one-and-done relationships with both Columbia and Deutsche Grammophon. Before the American vanguard of minimalism would be canonized in classical circles, someone would have to demonstrate long-term confidence in Reich’s art.

In 1978, Manfred Eicher’s ECM imprint offered the first issue ofMusic for 18 Musicians, after famously spiriting the tapes away from a tentative Deutsche Grammophon. (The latter had been sitting on the album for years, after paying to record it in 1976.) Eicher’s trend-spotting sense proved keen: The jazz label’s first “classical” release eventually sold over 100,000 copies. ECM followed up this success as soon as they could, with a collection of shorter Reich pieces from his past, one of which was already more than a decade old. After a third LP—the recorded debut ofTehillim—Reich moved with onetime ECM employee Bob Hurwitz to the label Nonesuch, his recording home ever since." - Pitchfork

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