ACME, the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, will give the first performance of the complete string quartets of Steve Reich together on the same concert on Tuesday, September 11 at 7:30pm (doors 6:30pm) at Le Poisson Rouge(158 Bleecker Street). The program includes Different Trains (1988); Triple Quartet, version for three string quartets (1998); and WTC 9/11 version for three string quartets and tape (2010). ACME’s performance will be the world premiere of this all-live version of WTC 9/11, which was commissioned, recorded, and toured widely by the Kronos Quartet in a version for one string quartet plus pre-recorded tape. Conductor Donato Cabrera will lead Triple Quartet and WTC 9/11.
The concert, as well as a pre-concert conversation between Steve Reich and WNYC’s John Schaefer, will be webcast live in its entirety by Q2 Music (more information: www.wqxr.org/#!/articles/q2-live-concerts/2012/aug/20/listen-steve-reichs-complete-quartets/).
ACME players for this concert are Caroline Shaw and Ben Russell, violins; Nadia Sirota, viola; Clarice Jensen, cello; plus violinists Erik Carlson, Keats Dieffenbach, Anna Elashvili and Annaliesa Place; violists Bryan Florence and Nathan Schram; and cellists Michael Nicolas and Brian Snow.
WTC 9/11* is a wrenching response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. Throughout the piece, Reich utilizes recorded material related to the attacks, including the voices of NORAD air traffic controllers, New York City Fire Department personnel, neighborhood residents, two women who for seven months sat Shmira with The Remains of victims, as well as a cellist and a cantor from a New York City synagogue singing parts of Psalms and the Torah. NPR’s Anastasia Tsioulcas wrote of the piece, “Reich's [WTC 9/11] crystallizes some of the anxiety and searching that characterized not just the chaos and pain of the attack and its immediate aftermath, but the great unknowns that have characterized the last decade for all of us…”
Reich’s Grammy Award-winning 1988 work, Different Trains, for string quartet and tape, contrasts the romantic journeys by train that Reich made as a child during World War II between the two cities where his separated parents lived (New York and Los Angeles), with the journeys by train that he may have been forced to undertake as a Jew in Europe during those same years. The recorded speech that is interspersed throughout the piece is taken from interviews with individuals in the US and in Europe leading up to, during, and immediately after World War II. Combining the sounds of steam whistles, brakes, and pistons with these voices, Different Trains is both introspective and a driving, harrowing ride.
Triple Quartet, from 1998, was written for and dedicated to the Kronos Quartet, and was premiered in 1999 at the Kennedy Center. Reich has said that the piece is influenced by the last movement of Bartók’s Fourth String Quartet, the string quartets of Alfred Schnittke, and Michael Gordon’s Yo Shakespeare.