Steve Reich: The String Quartets

Mivos Quartet

Steve Reich: The String Quartets
Compact disc
Deutsche Grammophon
3 February 2023

Steve Reich: The String Quartets

Mivos Quartet

Between 1988 and 2010, Steve Reich composed three string quartets – ‘Different Trains’, ‘Triple Quartet’ and ‘WTC 9/11’. Deutsche Grammophon now presents this trilogy of works for the first time on one album, in definitive new recordings from the Mivos Quartet.

Hailed by The Chicago Reader as “one of America’s most daring and ferocious new-music ensembles”, the Mivos players developed their interpretations of the three quartets – inspired by the music of speech, echoes of Bartók and the events of a day transformed by terror – in close collaboration with the composer. Reich himself supported the project from inception to completion, answering the group’s questions about fine musical details, offering advice on matters of style and endorsing the finished album. The recording features notes by veteran radio host and music writer John Schaefer


Steve Reich’s string quartet WTC 9/11 affects you in a strange way. A blend of contemporary voices with two prerecorded string quartets and one live quartet, it’s modern music at its strongest. In fact all three string quartets on this album by Reich were written for live musicians with supporting tapes. Two works interweave speech into the music and it’s this blend of acoustic elements that challenges the ear and mind in ways other music does not. All originally written for the world-renowned Kronos Quartet, they have never been available on a single album until now. Formed in 2008, Mivos Quartet is devoted to performing works of contemporary composers and presenting diverse new music to international audiences. And on a residency at the Curtis R Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York they recorded all three of Steve Reich’s epic String Quartets for release on Deutsche Grammophon. Working closely with the composer these are now considered the definitive recordings of these works, sometimes described as some of the greatest art music of the 21st century.

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