|Colin Currie Group — Steve Reich: Drumming (March 9, 2018)|
Colin Currie Group — Steve Reich: Drumming■? Steve Reich: A highly influential avant~garde composer and one of the key founders of the minimalist school of music.
■? Scots percussionist Colin Currie has made a name for himself performing contemporary works, many of which he premiered. The Colin Currie Group is a British percussion group founded and led by Colin Currie. This ensemble is dedicated to performing and recording the music of Steve Reich.
■? Colin Currie Group is a virtuosic ensemble that specialises in the music of Steve Reich. Their performances of Reich’s music have been hailed by the composer as “the best I’ve ever heard” (Tehillim, Tokyo 2017).
■? Led by Colin Currie (“the world’s finest and most daring percussionist”, Spectator), the hand~picked group was formed in 2006 for a performance of Drumming at the BBC Proms to celebrate the 70th birthday of Steve Reich.
Born: September 25, 1976 in Edinburgh, Scotland
Location: London and otherwise
Styles: Chamber Music, Concerto
Album release: March 9, 2018
Record Label: Colin Currie Records
1. Drumming: Part I 16:29
2. Drumming: Part II 17:23
3. Drumming: Part III 11:47
4. Drumming: Part IV 9:31
→ Colin Currie Group Ensemble
→ Colin Currie Liner Notes
→ Ian Dearden Mastering, Mixing, Producer
→ Andy Doe Cover Design, Cover Image, Executive Producer
→ Chris Gloag Cover Image
→ Daniel Halford Engineer, Mastering, Mixing
→ Ben Larpent Back Cover
→ David Millinger Layout
→ Steve Reich Composer
→ Synergy Vocals Primary Artist, Vocal Ensemble
■? “The world’s finest and most daring percussionist” — The Spectator
■? “Currie is riveting to watch as well as hear” — Daily Telegraph
AllMusic Review by James Manheim; Score: ****½
■? Steve Reich’s Drumming, inspired by musical studies in Ghana and on the Indonesian island of Bali, was composed in 1970 and 1971 and has remained one of the touchstones of minimalism’s first wave. The work merged polyrhythms and the rhythmic cycle idea with the phase shifting of Reich’s early works, painting the whole thing onto a large canvas with four interlocking sections of indeterminate length. The work is instantly appealing and is often performed by percussion ensembles. It has been recorded a number of times, beginning with a realization at Town Hall in New York involving Reich himself, in 1971. What has caused this version by the Colin Currie Group to jump onto classical sales charts? You get several features here that are sometimes imperfectly developed on earlier versions. First is the comparative brevity of the performance, which clocks in at just over 55 minutes (the work contains optional repeats). This is shorter than the 1971 Reich recording, but it’s worth noting that it’s very close to the length of the 1987 version by Steve Reich and Musicians, released on Nonesuch, and it seems to find the right balance between the sections of different instrumentation. Second, the engineering here is extraordinary, all the more so because the album is on the performers’ own label. It is not technically an audiophile album, but the transparency and dynamic range are top~notch. Sample the magical entrance of the three marimbas as the bongo drummers fade out at the beginning of Part II. Finally, these musicians have long familiarity with Reich and with this work, and it shows: they are comfortable in the music’s framework, in its skin. Highly recommended.
■? The pioneering classical percussionist Colin Currie launches his own record label with a recording of Steve Reich’s iconic Drumming, performed by the Colin Currie Group. Colin Currie Records is a platform for the soloist’s diverse projects, celebrating the extraordinary developments for percussion music over the past century.
■? Composer Steve Reich has said Colin Currie Group’s performances of his Drumming are the “best I’ve ever heard.” That’s quite some recommendation. This recording is an extraordinary display of super~tight rhythm, dynamic control, and incredible ensemble. Currie and co. negotiate, with micro~accuracy and smoothness, Reich’s complex “phasing” whereby the instruments, including drums, marimbas, glockenspiels and vocal effects, move subtly in and out of time with one another. The effect is beautiful, arresting, hypnotic even~especially in Part III, where glockenspiels collide in glorious confusion before realigning in the most magical fashion.
■? Led by Colin Currie (“the world’s finest and most daring percussionist”, Spectator), the hand~picked group was formed in 2006 for a performance of Drumming at the BBC Proms to celebrate the 70th birthday of Steve Reich. In the subsequent decade, the group have performed Drumming around the world. They have expanded their repertoire to include many of Reich’s most popular works, including Music for 18 Musicians, Sextet, Tehillim and Music for Pieces of Wood and are privileged to have frequently had the composer present when rehearsing and performing these works.
■? “Another performance that knocked my socks off was Colin Currie and his group doing Drumming at the South Bank [in London] this year. It was miked up high, it was expressionist, it was a brand new take. And I thought, Oh, we never could have done it that way.” — Steve Reich on the Colin Currie Group, Irish Times, July 2011
■? In 2014 the Group premiered Steve Reich’s Quartet (for two pianos and two vibraphones), dedicated by Reich to Colin Currie. Since the premiere at London’s Southbank Centre, the group have given multiple performances of this work, including across the UK, Europe, Asia and America.
■? The group’s highly anticipated recording of Drumming was released on Colin Currie Records in Spring 2018 after a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise funds, fully supported by Steve Reich who said “it will be, I am sure, the best recording of Drumming ever made”.
■? The Colin Currie Group has appeared in concert at major halls and festivals worldwide, having made their international debut at Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall in 2012 and their European debut at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam. Other highlights have included concerts in the opening season of the Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg, returning to Tokyo Opera City (March 2017), and performances at Southbank Centre, Paris Cité de la Musique, Cologne Philharmonie, Prague Strings of Autumn Festival, Rotterdam De Doelen, Glasgow Minimal Festival, Helsinki Festival and Macau Festival.
■? In the 2017/18 season Colin Currie Group gave three performances of Reich’s music at the Louis Vuitton Fondation, Paris at the request of the composer himself. They also performed in the UK at London’s Kings Place and return to Saffron Hall.
|Colin Currie Group — Steve Reich: Drumming (March 9, 2018)|