Steve Reich: Different Trains

Bozzini Quartet

“A new must-have for you to discover.”
— Downtown Music Gallery
“Quatuor Bozzini’s Different Trains turns a new page in the history of contemporary music. It provides a new landmark.”
— Wayside Music
“The quartet reinvigorate the piece with its intense playing and attention to detail…”
— Sonomu
“… une heureuse et dynamique relecture de l’œuvre.”
— Revue & Corrigée
“The Quatuor Bozzini… has produced a vivid, gutsy recording.”
— The WholeNote
Quatuor Bozzini have done an excellent job of bringing it to life.”
— Splendid E-Zine
“On peut remercier le Quatuor Bozzini d’avoir revisité cette partition à la fois mouvante et émouvante…”
— L’Express
“Quatuor Bozzini va il merito di averla ripescata 15 anni dopo quella del Kronos Quartet e molti fans so che gradiranno.”
— Blow Up
“Immediately ranks in the top for 2005.”
— wReck thiS MeSS
“D’une réalisation soignée…”
— La Presse
“Très belle interprétation d’une œuvre profonde et saisissante.”
— Ici Montréal

Track Listing

About

On October 13th, 2005 DAME is proud to present the second Collection QB release: Different Trains by Steve Reich performed by Bozzini Quartet. A major opus in Reich’s body of work, Different Trains pioneered in 1968 a new form of composition developed from his earlier tape pieces It’s Gonna Rain (1965) and Come Out (1966).

The idea for the piece came from Reich’s childhood. His parents separated when he was one year old. His mother moved to Los Angeles, while his father stayed in New York. Since they had arranged divided custody, he often traveled back and forth between those two cities, with his governess, in the years 1939-1942. He composed the piece keeping in mind that, as a Jew, he would have found himself in a different situation had he been living in Europe at the time.

The work consists of a prerecorded tape assembled from the voices of various people reminiscing about the Holocaust, sounds of American and European trains from the ‘30s and ‘40s, and three different string quartets. In addition to the tape is a fourth string quartet part for a live quartet. Bozzini Quartet decided to offer a new reading of the work, including its very own recording of the three taped string quartets, a first ever since the premiere 1988 recording of the work, by the Kronos Quartet. Bozzini Quartet embarked on this new reading after being advised to do so by Steve Reich himself.

Bozzini Quartet’s Different Trains turns a new page in the history of contemporary music. It provides a new landmark. A new must-have for you to discover.

Format
CD
Label
Collection QB
Catalogue no
CQB 0502

In the Press

Review

By BLG in Downtown Music Gallery (USA), June 1, 2007
A new must-have for you to discover.

A major opus in Reich’s body of work, Different Trains pioneered in 1968 a new form of composition developed from his earlier tape pieces It’s Gonna Rain (1965) and Come Out (1966). The work consists of a prerecorded tape assembled from the voices of various people reminiscing about the Holocaust, sounds of American and European trains from the ‘30s and ‘40s, and three different string quartets. In addition to the tape is a fourth string quartet part for a live quartet. Quatuor Bozzini decided to offer a new reading of the work, including its very own recording of the three taped string quartets, a first ever since the premiere 1988 recording of the work, by the Kronos Quartet. Quatuor Bozzini embarked on this new reading after being advised to do so by Steve Reich himself. Quatuor Bozzini’s Different Trains turns a new page in the history of contemporary music. It provides a new landmark. A new must-have for you to discover.

Quatuor Bozzini: Different Trains

in Wayside Music (USA), January 1, 2007
Quatuor Bozzini’s Different Trains turns a new page in the history of contemporary music. It provides a new landmark.

Excellent 27’-long disc with the last Steve Reich work that I’ve heard that I would consider a masterpiece. “A major opus in Reich’s body of work, Different Trains pioneered in 1988 a new form of composition developed from his earlier tape pieces It’s Gonna Rain (1965) and Come Out (1966). The idea for the piece came from Reich’s childhood. His parents separated when he was one year old. His mother moved to Los Angeles, while his father stayed in New York. Since they had arranged divided custody, he often traveled back and forth between those two cities, with his governess, in the years 1939-42. He composed the piece keeping in mind that, as a Jew, he would have found himself in a different situation had he been living in Europe at the time. The work consists of a prerecorded tape assembled from the voices of various people reminiscing about the Holocaust, sounds of American and European trains from the 30s and 40s, and three different string quartets. In addition to the tape is a fourth string quartet part for a live quartet. Quatuor Bozzini decided to offer a new reading of the work, including its very own recording of the three taped string quartets, a first ever since the premiere 1988 recording of the work, by the Kronos Quartet. Quatuor Bozzini embarked on this new reading after being advised to do so by Steve Reich himself. Quatuor Bozzini’s Different Trains turns a new page in the history of contemporary music. It provides a new landmark.”

De zéro à disque

By Nicolas Pelletier in emoRAGEi (Québec), September 8, 2006

Le Quatuor Bozzini est un prolifique ensemble de cordes entièrement féminin. [sic] Spécialisées dans l’interprétation des compositeurs classiques de notre temps, les musiciennes s’attaquent cette fois à l’Américain Steve Reich, un pionnier du minimalisme et de l’utilisation de motifs répétés. Le créateur du «loop», pourrait-on dire. Reich a aussi le mérite d’avoir intégré des bandes pré-enregistrées à ses œuvres, ainsi qu’à avoir élargi son champ d’action jusqu’à un opéra-vidéo en 2002. L’œuvre Different Trains date de 1988. Il s’agit de la superposition de plusieurs quatuors à cordes et de bandes où des bouts de phrases sont répétés. Le tout évoque les voyages en train que faisait Reich enfant, au début des années 1940, entre NYC et LA. Étant juif, il réalise par après la chance qu’il a eu d’être né en Amérique. En Allemagne, son voyage ferroviaire aurait sans doute été un aller simple vers la mort… Le Quatuor Bozzini en fait une interprétation magistrale, recréant les différents bruits d’un train avec leurs violons. Une œuvre hypnotique et impressionnante. Une fascinante réflexion humaine.

Review

By Paul Bijlsma in Phosphor #120 (Germany), August 1, 2006

The Montréal-based string quartet Quatuor Bozzini offer a new reading of Steve Reich’s work Different trains, which follows the version by the Kronos Quartet from 1990. This work has been devided in three parts; America-before the war, Europe-during the war and After the war, all three clocking around nine minutes. Lovely violin playing has been larded with repetitive vocal samples and sounds from trains from the 30’s and 40’s, resulting in lovely and rich layers of sounds. Each track offers a certain tension, which makes you keep listening in full fascination. A very intruiging work!

Review

By Stephen Fruitman in Sonomu (UK), March 10, 2006
The quartet reinvigorate the piece with its intense playing and attention to detail…

A new recording of Different Trains (1988), one of the most significant pieces in composer Steve Reich’s canon, as well as in the œuvre of works dealing with the undealable, the Nazi’s Final Solution.

Reich explores the Holocaust in a highly personal manner, by juxtaposing his relatively comfortable childhood in the US, being shuttled between his divorced parents across the American continent, with the tape recorded recollections of survivors who had been forced to travel across the European continent on entirely different sorts of trains. A groundbreaking aspect of the piece is the manner in which Reich takes the vocal snippets and has the string quartet imitate the rhythms and cadences of the voices, thereby rendering them in themselves musical. The piece has deservedly received innumerable awards and the World Premiere recording by The Kronos Quartet is simply superb. A devastating acheivement.

Quatuor Bozzini from Montréal (Clemens Merkel and Nadia Francavilla, violin; Stéphanie Bozzini, viola and Isabelle Bozzini, cello) were encouraged by Reich to attempt their own interpretation. The quartet reinvigorate the piece with its intense playing and attention to detail, and appear even to have inserted some samples of the recorded testimonies which do not appear on the original.

Different Trains is one of the strongest works of the postwar era. So which to buy? Why not Quatuor Bozzini’s? Aside from the fact that it is every bit as good as Kronos’ version, you will be supporting a new group at the beginning of what promises to be a brilliant career (Kronos hardly need an introduction), own a very nifty little package, all folds and flaps, and spare yourself the tedious second piece on the Nonesuch release, Electric Counterpoint with Pat Metheny on guitar.

Collection QB is the quartet’s personal imprint under the DAME label umbrella in Quebec, which has already released a previous CD, Portrait Montréal, interpretations of works by their most immediate contemporaries.

Disques

By Pierre Durr in Revue & Corrigée #67 (France), March 1, 2006
… une heureuse et dynamique relecture de l’œuvre.

Different Trains est probablement une des œuvres fondamentales de Steve Reich, prélude à ses opéras-vidéos, en introduisant dans la trame répétitive divers effets, collages, voix (la bande magnétique complémentaire superpose trois quatuors à cordes, servant de repère à la prestation scénique du Kronos Quartet). Sur scène, pour peu que la scénographie, la répartition des enceintes acoustiques soient à l’unisson, l’œuvre permet une visualisation sonore à la fois ouverte et ciblée.

Plusieurs versions en ont été enregistrées depuis celle du Kronos Quartet en l988, sans oublier celle, plus récente (2003) de l’orchestre national de Lyon et ses 48 cordes. Le Quatuor Bozzini, dont c’est ici le second enregistrement, ne pouvait qu’integrer à son répertoire cette œuvre majeure du vingtième siècle finissant. Présenté en public il y a plus d’un an, Different Trains, évoquant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, était associé à Black Angels — thirteen images from the Dark Land (relatif au Vietnam) de George Crumb, lors d’un récital titré «in tempore belli» (en temps de guerre). Le Quatuor à cordes canadien s’est particulièrement impliqué à retravailler l’œuvre de Steve Reich, allant jusqu’à réenregistrer lui-même la bande magnétique complémentaire, ce qui permet aux quatre musiciens de jouir d’une liberté d’exécution et de sonorité que les différents quatuors interprètes n’avaient pas en utilisant la bande préenregistrée initialement par le Kronos. Une manière donc de s’approprier, avec le consentement de Steve Reich lui-même, une heureuse et dynamique relecture de l’œuvre.

Review

By Margles in The WholeNote #11:5 (Canada), February 1, 2006
The Quatuor Bozzini… has produced a vivid, gutsy recording.

Different Trains, from 1988, remains Reich’s most moving work to date. Reich recorded the voices of a Pullman porter who worked the NY - LA line that Reich traveled to visit his mother when he was a child, the governess who accompanied him, three Holocaust survivors, and train sounds. Each quartet pre-recorded three separate tracks to accompany it in performance. The Quatuor Bozzini, based at Concordia University in Montréal, has produced a vivid, gutsy recording. Closely miked, it clearly differentiates the prerecorded tracks from what’s being performed live in the studio. When a taped voice says ‘Black crows invaded our county’ the solo cello responds with hair-raising effect. But the cute cover art and unwieldy packaging don’t appeal to me, and much as I object to choosing a disc for its playing time, 27 minutes seems stingy - as does the lack of information about the piece. At least they give the texts correctly (though without punctuation).

Review

By Sarah Zachrich in Splendid E-Zine (USA), December 29, 2005
Quatuor Bozzini have done an excellent job of bringing it to life.

Quatuor Bozzini (the Bozzini Quartet) have tackled both experimental and traditional music in their fairly brief career, but for their second recording, they’ve chosen a piece that falls decisively into the former category.

Composed in 1968, Different Trains addresses several themes, all steeped in history both personal and cultural. Experimental composer/icon Steve Reich spent much of his childhood shuttling between his estranged parents on opposite coasts of the US. During the late 1930s and early ‘40s, when he grew up, this meant lots of time on trains. Reich is also Jewish; in addition to travel, distance and the romanticism of train travel, Different Trains is colored by a deep-rooted awareness of World War II and the spectre of the Holocaust. The war is what divides Different Trains into its three movements: America - Before the War; Europe - During the War; After the War.

The Quartet do an amazing job of evoking train sounds, from the inexorable cycles of the wheels to the shrill whistle blasts. Samples of actual trains from the relevant era are layered beneath the strings, and cut-and-pasted voice recordings reminisce disconnectedly about train routes and the war. The vocal samples are wrangled into a truly musical state, mostly by association; the strings echo the voices’ pitch and tone — going strong and staccato for a male’s clipped accents, legato for a softer, slower female.

Different Trains does what any good piece of music should do: addresses the personal in a larger cultural context. Quatuor Bozzini have done an excellent job of bringing it to life.

Quand la musique est bonne

By Dominique Denis in L’Express (Canada), December 20, 2005
On peut remercier le Quatuor Bozzini d’avoir revisité cette partition à la fois mouvante et émouvante…

Un des quelques chefs-d’œuvre du minimalisme américain qui sévissait il v a une trentaine d’années, Different Trains illustre le singulier génie de Steve Reich, qui a utilisé les inflections mélodiques de la parole comme point de départ à la composition.

Hypnotique et paradoxale, cette œuvre en trois mouvements se veut une réflexion quasi-documentaire sur l’holocauste (avant, pendant et après) pour quatuor à cordes (à la fois live et pré-enregistré et bandes magnétiques) avec, comme fil conducteur, l’idée et le rythme du train. On peut remercier le Quatuor Bozzini d’avoir revisité cette partition à la fois mouvante et émouvante, qui n’avait jamais été reprise depuis que le célèbre quatuor Knonos l’avait enregistrée en 1988.

Recensione

By Gino Dal Soler in Blow Up #91 (Italy), December 1, 2005
Le Quatuor Bozzini a eu le mérite de reprendre cette œuvre quinze ans après le Kronos Quartet et je suis certain que bien des fans de Steve Reich leur en sauront gré.

Different Trains è una delle composizioni più celebrate di Steve Reich, per nastro magnetico e quartetto d’archi, dove sono proprio i nastri di brani parlati a dar vita al materiale per il quartetto d’archi. In quei nastri Reich (ebreo) mixava le proprie memorie d’infanzia tra New York e Los Angeles con quelle dei sopravvissuti all’olocausto, una rete densa di voci, suoni di treni, ritmi. Per quest’occasione il quartetto Quatuor Bozzini ha registrato quattro parti per archi di cui una suonata live e le altre provenienti da nastro. Different Trains per quanto acclamata non è onestamente tra le mie composizioni preferite di Steve Reich, ma al Quatour Bozzini va il merito di averla ripescata 15 anni dopo quella del Kronos Quartet e molti fans so che gradiranno. (6/7)

Review

By Bart Plantenga in wReck thiS MeSS (Netherlands), November 7, 2005
Immediately ranks in the top for 2005.

Different Trains, on DAME, is an incredibly vibrant and awesomely melancholy interpretation of Steve Reich ’s train works, which are inspired by his early experiences of the importance of trains in a boy’s childhood and the history of the world - the transport of millions of Jews to their deaths during WWII. The works include prerecorded tapes of people discussing their memories of WWII, the Holocaust, the sounds of trains and 3 different string quartets. Immediately ranks in the top for 2005.

Disques

By Guy Marceau in La Presse (Québec), October 22, 2005
D’une réalisation soignée…

Pour le deuxième disque de sa Collection QB, le Quatuor Bozzini foule les territoires minimalistes de Steve Reich avec une de ses oeuvres majeures: Different Trains. Cette fresque sonore en trois mouvements pour quatuor à cordes, et trois quatuors à cordes enregistrés, ponctuée de fragments sonores (bruits de trains, sirènes, et voix de survivants de l’Holocauste), se déploie aux rythmes de séquences répétitives dans une partition rigoureuse. Reich s’inspire de son enfance, de ses allers et retours en train, New York/Los Angeles, et des allers simples qu’ont vécus les juifs vers les camps de la mort. Des versions existantes sur disque, celle du Kronos Quartet, dédicataire de l’oeuvre en 1988, est la plus incisive. Le Bozini s’en démarque par son jeu plus chaleureux et retenu, privilégiant ici et là le « dramatisme » des artefacts sonores historiques. Délaissant celles du Kronos, le Bozzini a enregistré ses propres bandes aux cordes, sous les conseils du compositeur. D’une réalisation soignée, cette version inédite crée les effets obsédants escomptés, mais n’évacuent pas la nostalgie poétique du sombre propos. Un bémol: le minutage (27 minutes) qui autorisait largement un complément de programme.

Compact!

By François Nadon in Ici Montréal (Québec), October 13, 2005
Très belle interprétation d’une œuvre profonde et saisissante.

Different Trains est le 2e enregistrement de cette œuvre depuis 1988, initialement interprétée par le Kronos Quartet. Cette suite de Reich relate ses voyages en train en Amérique en parallèle avec les allers simples des juifs vers les camps de la mort. Cette pièce pour quatuor à cordes jouée simultanément avec trois autres quatuors enregistrés et bande suit le rythme de la mélancolie du voyage et des textes récités. Très belle interprétation d’une œuvre profonde et saisissante. …La musique suit en parallèle les textes récités. 9

Other texts in

Informator “Ars” 2 43 (Poland)