That 3rd Reich quartet

That 3rd Reich quartet


norman lebrecht

December 07, 2022

Everyone knows Different Trains, Steve Reich’s astonishing work for string quartet and pre-recorded tape.

Some may know his Triple Quartet of 1998, which requires one quartet to record music for two others and perform the work live with tape playback.

But a third Reich? There is one, apparently, and it’s coming out next year.

Press release below:


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….

Mivos first programmed Reich’s three quartets in one concert at the Jewish Museum in New York City in February 2016 and have played the works often since then. It was Reich himself who invited the ensemble to take on the challenge of recording all three for a single album.

The composer’s most recent work in the genre, WTC 9/11, which, like Different Trains, is built around voice recordings, in this case made during or after the terrorist attacks on New York’s World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Completed in 2010, it precisely matches instrumental lines to the vocal intonation of air traffic controllers, people phoning emergency services or reflecting on the horror and disbelief that overcame eyewitnesses to one of the defining events of the present century. WTC 9/11 also includes recordings of the psalms sung in Hebrew by those who sat with the bodies of the dead, a tradition associated with easing the passage of souls into the afterlife.


  • caranome says:

    Poor Steve Reich. His last name serves up the “perfect” pun for Norman to use as click bait. He just couldn’t pass it up.

  • Graeme Hall says:

    Not sure why the surprise? WTC 9/11 has been recorded before and is not particularly recent.

  • Michael B. says:

    I find the headline extremely offensive; it should definitely be changed. Steve Reich is Jewish and many of his works relate to Jewish concepts and themes.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    What a terribly offensive headline!
    As Michael B. points out in his comment, Steve Reich is Jewish.
    One might think that you, Norman, being yourself Jewish, would be more sensitive to that kind of horrible reference.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    German speaking people must really love your, NL . . . even though none of them today had anything to do with the Third Reich. I’ll say this much; you’re headline is certainly an attention getter.