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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to…Different Trains – Steve Reich/Kronos Quartet/Pat Methany August 3, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

I was recently in a museum which had an audio-visual installation with footage of train journeys across the United States in the 1940s and 1950s and Different Trains by Steve Reich, as played by the Kronos Quartet as a musical accompaniment – or perhaps the visuals were the accompaniment to the music. The two combined provided a mesmerising experience, it was impossible not to stop and look. Oddly this reminded me of Ulrich Schnauss playing live in Dublin some years ago which used similar footage during the gig, albeit the music was considerable louder and faster.

Of course the pieces are deeply politicised – Reich sought to meditate upon not just his personal experience as noted here where he travelled across the US by train as a child, but also on the death trains in Nazi Germany that took Jews to the concentration camps. And the pieces incorporate quotations from a range of people – survivors, railwaymen from the US and others, which touch on those very topics to a profoundly moving effect.

There are three other pieces in the Electric Counterpoint which are quite different, courtesy of Pat Methany, but no less effective (though to an old Durutti Column fan like myself not unreminiscent of them).

A fantastic achievement.

Different Trains (Part 1)

Different Trains: After The War [Third Movement]

Electric Counterpoint (Fast Movement – Part 3)


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