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Steve Reich

The Desert Music

Label: Nonesuch

Format: CD

Genre: Compositional Form

Out of stock

The Desert Music is a work of music for voices and orchestra composed by Steve Reich based on texts by William Carlos Williams. It consists of five movements, and in both its tempi and arrangement of thematic material, the piece is in a characteristic arch form (ABCBA). The piece is scored for a chorus of 27 voices: nine sopranos, and six each of altos, tenors and basses. It calls for a woodwind section comprising four flutes with three doubling on piccolo, four oboes with three doubling on cor anglais, four Bb clarinets with three doubling on Bb bass clarinet and four bassoons with one doubling on contrabassoon. The brass section comprises four horns, four trumpets with one doubling on optional piccolo trumpet, two trombones, a bass trombone, and one tuba. The percussion section is characteristically extensive, comprising two timpani, both doubling on rototoms, two marimbas, two vibraphones, two xylophones, two glockenspiels, maracas, sticks, a pair of bass drums, and a medium gong. Two pianos, played by four musicians, comprise the keyboard section, and the strings, (12-12-9-9-6) are broken into three sections of (4-4-3-3-2) seated by their section with the first set of 16 players stage right, the next 16 center stage, and the last 16 stage left. Tilson Thomas premiered and recorded The Desert Music in an orchestral version.
Cat. number: 7559791012
Year: 1985