STEVE REICH

  • Title
    WTC 9/11
  • Performer
    Quatuor Tana
  • Booklet
    32 pages & Notes in English and French
  • CD
    MDC 7877
      20€
  • VINYL
    MDC 7878 LP
      40€
    Limited edition of 500

Award


Description

WTC 9/11 

Steve Reich composed WTC 9/11 in 2010 in homage to the victims of the attack on the World Trade Center, September 11th, 2001. First performed on March 19, 2011 at Duke University in North Carolina by the Kronos Quartet, WTC 9/11 would be played for the first time in New York, at Carnegie Hall, in late April of the same year.

WTC 9/11 is written for a string quartet playing live, on which are juxtaposed pre-recorded voices and two string quartets. With a playing time of 16 minutes, the work is in three movements played without a break: “9/11”, “2010” and “WTC”.

The first movement, “9/11”, is moving, disturbing and even stressful. Deliberately bruitist, it begins and develops to the haunting rhythm of the alarm of a telephone left off the hook: an F played on the violin with the superimposed archive voices of the NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) air traffic controllers and the FDNY (Fire Department City of New York).

The second movement, entitled “2010”, uses interviews of memories from 2001. In it, we hear Steve Reich’s neighbors, an officer of the FDNY and the first ambulance driver to arrive at the scene.

In the third movement, Steve Reich takes inspiration from his friend the composer David Lang, creator in 2003 of World To Come, “WTC” being the common acronym of both their works. Steve Reich’s is concerned with metaphysical and spiritual preoccupations. Brought up in the Jewish faith, he knows that it imposes the ritual of presence around the body to accompany the deceased from the time of death to burial, thus accompanying the soul, which floats above the body until inhumation. It was impossible for the composer to ignore the fact that after the 9-11 attacks, the problem of identifying the bodies lasted seven months... 

In 2011, for the release of WTC 9/11, the cover photo showing the Twin Towers at the moment of the attack created such a shock and controversy that it was replaced by another visual showing a cloud of smoke. 

Steve Reich, who was a neighbor of the World Trade Center for 25 years, wrote on his label’s website: “I believed… that a piece of music with documentary material from an event would best be matched with a documentary photograph of that event”.

 

Serge Thomassian, the producer of the Megadisc Classics label - whose offices, four blocks from the Twin Towers, were destroyed during the 2001 attack - now proposes an unambiguous cover photo of the World Trade Center being struck by the plane. 

 

WTC 9/11 

Steve Reich a composé WTC 9/11 en 2010, en hommage aux victimes de l’attaque du World Trade Center du 11 septembre 2001. Créé le 19 mars 2011 à l’Université Duke en Caroline du Nord par le Kronos Quartet, WTC 9/11 est joué pour la première fois fin avril 2011 au Carnegie Hall de New York.

Ecrit pour un quatuor à cordes jouant en live (concert en direct), auquel se juxtaposent les sons préenregistrés de voix et de deux quatuors à cordes, WTC 9/11 dure 16 minutes. 

L’œuvre comporte trois mouvements enchaînés : “ 9/11 ”, “ 2010 ” et “ WTC ”.

“ 9/11 ”, le premier mouvement, est à la fois émouvant et inquiétant, anxiogène même. Délibérément bruitiste, il débute et se développe au rythme lancinant de l’alarme d’un téléphone resté décroché : un fa joué au violon avec, en superposition, les voix d’archives de contrôleurs du NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), celles du commandement de la Défense aérospatiale américaine et du FDNY (Fire Department of New York), les pompiers de New York.

Le deuxième mouvement, intitulé 2010, utilise des interviews-souvenirs de 2001. On y entend des voisins de Steve Reich, un officier du FDNY ainsi que le premier ambulancier arrivé sur les lieux du drame.

Dans le troisième mouvement, Steve Reich s’inspire de son ami et compositeur David Lang, créateur en 2003 de World To Come (Un monde à venir), “ WTC ” devenant l’acronyme commun à chacune de leur œuvre.    

Celle de Steve Reich est habitée de préoccupations métaphysiques et spirituelles. Lui qui connaît la tradition juive, il sait qu’elle impose le rituel de la présence auprès d’un cadavre : accompagner le défunt de son décès à son enterrement, c’est accompagner son âme qui flotte au-dessus du corps jusqu’à l’inhumation. Il est impossible pour Steve Reich d’ignorer qu’après l’attentat du 11 septembre, le problème d’identification des corps a duré sept mois...

En 2011, à la sortie de WTC 9/11, la couverture montrant les Twin Towers au moment de l’attentat créa un tel choc et une telle polémique qu’elle fut remplacée par un autre visuel représentant un nuage de fumée. 

Steve Reich, depuis vingt cinq ans voisin du World Trade Center, écrivait sur le site de son label : 

“ … je pensais qu’une œuvre musicale utilisant un matériau documentaire autour de l’événement irait bien avec une photo documentaire de cet événement ”.

Serge Thomassian, le producteur du label Megadisc Classics - dont les bureaux, à quatre blocs des Twin Towers, ont été détruits lors de l’attaque de 2001 - propose aujourd’hui en couverture une photo sans ambiguïté : le World Trade Center frappé par l’avion.

 

WTC 9/11 Text

1. 9/11 

NORAD. North American Aerospace Defense Command

They came from Boston -

Goin’ to LA -

and they’re headed South -

They’re goin’ the wrong

They’re goin’ the wrong way -

Boston -

LA -

headed South -

goin’ the wrong

goin’ the worn way -

no contact -

no contact with the pilot -

no contact with the pilot whatsoever -

No

contact

with the pilot

whatsoever

 

FDNY. Fire Department of New York

Go ahead

Plane just crashed -

Plane just crashed into the World Trade -

every available

every available ambulance -

the plane was aiming

the plane was aiming towards the building -

there’s been a major

there’s been a major collapse -

Mayday! Mayday! Liberty and West, I’m trapped

I’m trapped in the rubble -

the second plane

the second plane

a second plane! -

Mayday! Mayday, mayday!

I can’t breathe

I can’t breathe much longer

Other tower just collapsed

 

2. 2010

Neighborhood residents, FDNY officer, first ambulance driver to arrive at World Trade Center:

I was sitting in class -

four blocks

four blocks north of Ground Zero -

I was taking my kids to school -

the first plane -

went straight

went straight over our heads

went straight over our heads and into the building -

My eyes just kind of shot up

flames

one of the towers

one of the towers just in flames

but we all thought

but we all thought it was an accident

accident

I knew it wasn’t an accident

I knew it wasn’t an accident right away

Everyone was running

running

Everyone was running and screaming

Then -

Then

The second plane hit -

The second plane hit

It was not an accident

It was not

Ìt was not an accident

People -

 

People

jumping from the building -

jumping from the building

people

The first ambulance

the first ambulance to get there

It was chaos

chaos

nobody knew

nobody knew what to do

nobody

The ground -

The ground started shaking -

The ground started shaking

You could feel it

The building came down

came down

Run

Run for your lives

Run

Suddenly

Suddenly it was black outside -

Suddenly it was black outside

You could not see in front of you

You could not

Debris engulfed everybody

Debris engulfed everybody that was there

Everybody thought we were dead

Everybody

thought we were dead

Totally silent

silent

just dust in the street

just dust

Three thousand people

Three thousand people were murdered

What’s gonna happen here?

What’s gonna happen here next?

 

3. WTC

Neighborhood resident, women who sat with 9/11 bodies saying psalms 24/7 until burial, a cellist with a good voice, 

a cantor:

The bodies

The bodies were moved to large tents

On the east side of Manhattan

I would sit there

I would sit there and recite Psalms all night

recite Psalms all night

Simply sitting

sitting

Hashem yishmor tzaytcha uvoecha may atah va-ahd olahm*

Hashem yishmor tzaytcha uvoecha may atah va-ahd olahm

Hashem yishmor tzaytcha uvoecha may atah va-ahd olahm

The world to come

I don’t really know what that means

Hiney ahnochi sholayach malach lephaneycha lishmorcha badarech valahaviahcha el-hamahkom asher hakinoti**

Hiney ahnochi sholayach malach lephaneycha lishmorcha badarech valahaviahcha el-hamahkom asher hakinoti -

and there’s the world

and there’s the world right here

 

*Psalms 121:8 - “The Eternal will guard your departure and 

your arrival from now till the end of time.”

 

**from The Wayfarer’s Prayer (Exodus 23:20) - “Behold,

I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and 

to bring you to the place that I have prepared.”


 

DIFFERENT TRAINS

The idea for this work comes from Steve Reich’s childhood. He was a year old when his parents separated, his mother going to live in Los Angeles, his father staying in New York. Thus, accompanied by his nanny, the young Steve was going to make frequent trips between the East and West Coasts. Those pleasant train trips, taking four days, doubtless did not prevent him from knowing that, between 1939 and 1942, European Jewish children his age were getting into very different trains…

This is what would result in Different Trains (1988), a 27-minute work laid out in three movements: “America-Before the War”, “Europe-During the War” and “After the War”. The composition uses and superimposes conversations on tape and the instruments of the string quartet. The retrieval of numerous sonorities of daily life, voices like announcements, recorded sounds of trains from the 1930s and ‘40s make up the musical material of Different Trains. To his composition he adds recorded interviews of witnesses from his childhood: his nanny, Virginia Mitchell, who evokes their train trips; Lawrence Davis, an employee of the New York-Los Angeles railroad line, who relates his life; and finally, testimony collected from Rachella, Paul and Rachel, Holocaust survivors.

Different Trains opened new directions and new perspectives for Steve Reich. Although he brings together four string quartets, one playing live, the three others being added to the pre-recorded tape, it is above all the taped voices that make for the work’s originality. The spoken language thus becomes a full-fledged musical material, and after Different Trains, this technique would lead to The Cave, composed in 1990, Three Tales (2002) then WTC 9/11 (2010)…

Steve Reich, born October 3, 1936, is one of the most important and influential composers of today’s music, his impact on his contemporaries being considerable. Since the Minimalism of his beginnings, he has remained faithful to repetitive writing (patterns), even though his latest creations have become more harmonic and thereby richer and more delightful, tinged with the fantastic. 

 

 

DIFFERENT TRAINS

Cette œuvre trouve son origine dans l’enfance de Steve Reich. Il a un an lorsque ses parents se séparent. Sa mère part s’installer à Los Angeles tandis que son père reste à NYC. Il va donc, accompagné de sa gouvernante, faire de fréquents aller et retours entre la côte Est et la côte Ouest. Très agréables, ces voyages en train de quatre jours n’empêcheront sans doute pas le tout jeune Steve de savoir qu’à la même époque, entre 1939 et 1942, les enfants juifs européens de son âge montaient dans un tout autre type de trains…

C’est ce qui donnera naissance en 1988 à Different Trains, une pièce de 27 minutes construite en trois mouvements : America-Before the War, Europe-During the War et After the War.         

Cette composition utilise et superpose des conversations sur bande magnétique et les instruments d’un quatuor à cordes. La récupération de nombreuses sonorités du quotidien, des voix d’annonces au micro, des sons enregistrés de trains des années 1930-1940 constituent le matériau musical de Different Trains. Steve Reich y intègre différents enregistrements de témoins de son enfance : sa gouvernante Virginia Mitchell, évoquant leurs longs voyages en train et Lawrence Davis, employé sur la ligne ferroviaire New York-Los Angeles, racontant des épisodes de sa vie. Enfin, toujours en superposition, on entend des témoignages collectés auprès de Rachella, Paul et Rachel, survivants de l’holocauste.

Different Trains marque pour Steve Reich l’ouverture de nouvelles voies et de nouvelles perspectives. S’il y fait cohabiter quatre quatuors à cordes, l’un joué en direct (en live), les trois autres étant ajoutés à la bande magnétique préenregistrée et superposés en strates, c’est surtout la présence des voix sur cette bande enregistrée qui lui confère son originalité. Le langage parlé devient ainsi un matériau musical à part entière. Après Different Trains, ce principe donnera naissance à The Cave en 1990, Three Tales en 2002 puis WTC 9/11 en 2010.

Né le 3 octobre 1936, Steve Reich est l’un des plus importants et influents compositeurs de notre musique d’aujourd’hui. Son impact sur ses contemporains est considérable. Depuis le minimalisme de ses débuts, il est resté fidèle à l’écriture répétitive (patterns), même si ses dernières créations se sont enrichies pour devenir plus harmoniques, plus savoureuses, comme empruntes de merveilleux.

 

 

DIFFERENT TRAINS Text

America-Before the War

“from Chicago to New York” (Virginia)

“one of the fasted trains”

“the crack* train from New York” (Mr. Davis)

“from New York to Los Angeles”

“different trains every time” (Virginia)

“from Chicago to New York”

“in 1939”

“1939” (Mr. Davis)

“1940”

“1941”

“1941 I guess it must’ve been” (Virginia)

 

Europe-During the War

“1940” (Rachella)

“on my birthday”

“The Germans walked in”

“walked into Holland”

“Germans invaded Hungary” (Paul)

“I was in second grade”

“I had a teacher”

“a very tall man, his hair was concretely 

 plastered smooth”

“He said, ‘Black Crows invaded our country 

 many years ago’”

“and he pointed right at me”

“No more school” (Rachel)

“You must go away”

“and she said ‘Quick, go!’” (Rachella)

“and he said, ‘Don’t breathe!’ 

“into those cattle wagons” (Rachella)

“for four days and four nights”

“and then we went though these 

 strange-sounding names”

 

“Polish names”

“Lots of cattle wagons there”

“They were loaded with people”

“They shaved us”

“They tattooed a number on our arm”

“Flames going up to the sky—it was smoking”

 

After the War

“and the war was over” (Paul)

“Are you sure?” (Rachella)

“The war is over”

“going to America”

“to Los Angeles”

“to New York”

“from New York to Los Angeles” (Mr. Davis)

“one of the fastest trains” (Virginia)

“but today they’re all gone” (Mr. Davis)

“There was one girl, who had a beautiful voice” (Rachella)

“and they loved to listen to the singing, the Germans”

“and when she stopped singing they said, 

‘More, more’ and they applauded”

 

* “crack” in the older sense of “best”