S. Reich, Music for 18 Musicians, Ensemble Signal, B. Lubman
(released on May 12, 2015)
HMU 907608 | 59'17"
This new recording by Ensemble Signal is the second to appear under the leadership of Brad Lubman, who helped supervise the recording by Ensemble Modern in the 90s. With four players loaned from Third Coast Percussion, Lubman here conducts a group of twenty, which helps ease some of the doubling issues, and he even takes the third marimba part in Section VII. (Vocalist and Pulitzer-winner Caroline Shaw is heard on Voice 2.) The otherwise excellent recording by the Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble, from 2008, appealed for its excellent sound and for a slightly slower, more easy-going feel to it. Here the piece has more of the not rushed but impelled feel of Reich's first recording, hitting a timing that is just a minute longer than the Ensemble Modern disc. The audio engineering is also top-notch, revealing every articulation, crescendo, and nuance in vivid sonic detail. Put it on the shelf with the other recordings, along with the recordings we wish would be made, like the performance by the Ensemble Intercontemporain embedded below.