Tag Archives: Music for 18 Musicians

🎻♫♪ – Music for 18 Musicians by Steve Reich

List Item: Listen to half of the 1001 Classical Works You Must Hear Before You Die
105/501Title: Music for 18 Musicians
Composer: Steve Reich
Nationality: American


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Music for 18 Musicians is a bit of an odd one. This is the only album that I have found, at least so far, that is on both the classical and popular music list. I guess it’s one of those things where it shows how these two worlds do touch one another. In this instance, this is where we have minimalist classical music that apparently crossed over so much that it ended up on best of lists in major music publications.

Listening to it was very much like listening to Reich’s Different Trains in that I am seeing how much the term of classical music is being stretched. There are some more regular classical instruments here, but also you have voices being used like notes on a keyboard and some interesting variation in percussive instruments.

Unlike a lot of classical pieces or popular music albums, Music for 18 Musicians comes as just a single track on the 1978 album – although other recordings of the piece have been split up into smaller tracks. It being together as one large piece does work, although there are times where I would like a signal as to far into this hour long track I am. However that’s probably just my stupid attention span.

Listening to this, the thing that came most to mind was the closing track ‘Out of Egypt, into the Great Laugh of Mankind, and I Shake the Dirt from My Sandals as I Run’ from Sufjan Stevens’ IllinoisI will probably also hear echoes of it in other more instrumental works that are in the ambient and lo-fi styles.