Steve Reich & Beryl Korot - Three Tales (2003) CD + DVD

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Steve Reich & Beryl Korot - Three Tales (2003) CD + DVD

Steve Reich & Beryl Korot - Three Tales (2003) CD + DVD
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue&Log) ~ 292 Mb | Mp3 (CBR320) ~ 136 Mb | 00:59:37 | Scans ~ 30 Mb
DVD9 | PAL | 4:3 (720x576) VBR | AC3 5.1 / 2.0 @ 448 kbps; DTS | ~ 5.3 Gb
Subs: English, French, Italian, German | Label: Nonesuch | # 7559-79835-2
Avant-Garde, Minimalism, Video Opera

Three Tales is a video-opera in three acts (titled Hindenburg, Bikini and Dolly) with music by American composer Steve Reich and visuals by Beryl Korot, his wife. It is scored for two sopranos, three tenors, string quartet, percussion, keyboards, and pre-recorded audio. Its premiere was at the Vienna Festival on May 12, 2002; the BBC had commissioned a version for television broadcast four months later. The 12-minute tale Hindenburg had been written (and recorded) in 1998, while the remaining tales were completed (and recorded) in the year of the premiere.

There is nothing else quite like Steve Reich and Beryl Korot's Three Tales, first seen in its final form in May last year. "Video opera" is a useful shorthand for describing the work's fusion of images and live music. But "opera" implies a degree of drama that neither the music, nor the visuals, attempts to meet. The video and the score are inseparable, though, and the result is a kind of musical documentary. Nonesuch has packaged the work as a two-disc set: the soundtrack - Reich's music and the soundbites and interviews that provide its musical sources as well as its philosophical and political dialectic - is on CD, while the DVD has the complete work, images and score wedded.

Three Tales takes in a wide sweep of 20th century technology, exploring three very different events - the construction and destruction of the airship Hindenberg in 1937, the first tests of the hydrogen bomb on Bikini Atoll in 1946, and finally the cloning of Dolly the sheep in 1996. The three movements get progressively weightier, more discursive, more visually inventive: Hindenberg is essentially a potted history of the events via newsreel footage and a motoric musical accompaniment; Bikini looks more closely into the effects and implications of the tests, while Dolly takes the cloning as the springboard for a much wider examination of genetic engineering and its implications for humankind.

Korot's images provide the increasingly virtuoso surface - the images in Dolly especially are quite dazzling - while Reich's music provides the binding structure, and the proportioning of the whole 65-minute work. It moves from Niebelheim-like hammerings and martial rhythms as the Hindenberg is built, through menacing countdowns and prayer-like reflectiveness in Bikini, to the explosion of inventiveness and exuberance in Dolly with speech rhythms and melodies feeding back between the talking heads like Richard Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould and James Watson on video, and the music of the live singers and instrumentalists.

Though it's possible to connect the processes in Three Tales to Reich's earlier techniques in City Life and the string quartet Different Trains, this piece represents a quantum leap in complexity and technological achievement, and no other musical work I know comes near its imaginative synthesis. It is unique, and seems all the more extraordinary the more you watch and hear it.

Review by Andrew Clements, The Guardian

Steve Reich has always been at the forefront of technology while preserving his love for acoustic instruments. Three Tales is a collaboration with the cinematic artistry of Beryl Korot, and marries the worlds of historical events and Reich's minimalist and multi-layered combination of musics with the psychodrama of digital visual possibilities. Reich, in the liner notes, dismisses the idea that he is embracing new media while simultaneously scoffing at the "advances" of humankind as sensationalized by the news in today's manic society. Instead he is – more than at any other time in his career – telling broad-reaching stories with the full spectrum of his German/Jewish/African-influenced music, words, and image-driven scenarios that are burned in our brains, but never before in this particular light. The triad of accounts, which definitely act as a connected suite, relate to the horrific disaster of the torched Hindenburg blimp; the religious and vengeful connections between the Biblical tale of Adam and Eve, Hiroshima and the atomic bombs, and the invention of the two-piece women's swimsuit; and the first vestiges of artificial life created in contemporary times as represented by the cloning of the famous sheep Dolly. The accompanying DVD is useful in that it does enhance the audio backdrop, though as always with Reich's unique approach, the music can easily stand alone. "Hindenburg" (with "It Could Not Have Been a Technical Matter" on the DVD) starts with a dramatic, dancing motif on pianos, string quartet, and marimba, but phases into the actual sounds of sizzling and then eruptive thermite and hydrogen reacting. It's a macabre effect as vocal commentary and layered vocals become a news actuality.

The ten-part "Bikini" is an ever evolving piece, ranging from the statement "I watched it fly" to strings sighing; a probing, insistent chorale in mixed meters; a gigantic mushroom chorale; settled and apologetic strings; an implied march; the rhythmic noise of countdown; more strident strings; and a post-horror aftermath of shock, dismay, and indignation. Whether resolute or not, this 22-and-a-half-minute piece really sets one's thought process into tilt-a-whirl mode. "Dolly" has an insular feeling, with multiple commentaries from scientists on the vagaries, possible consequences, and unlimited possibilities cell division and multiplication might lead to in the future. There's a clear choral homage to birth, processed percussive statements of the "human body machine" turned faceless, phased and echoed audio images of Charles Darwin's theorems, the thought that "every creature has a song," and the lengthy concluding coda where technology is a constant of evolution, but to its detriment, turned into intelligent machinery as phased and layered notions of controlling robotics, cyborg beings, and ultimate immortality end with the idea that this is "bringing up a baby the hard way." Throughout this program, Reich's central musical themes are always present, either exploding, providing a triptych through not only his witty modern music but the linear path of life, or expressing self-doubt through a vision of both caution and bravery. The most reliable members of Reich's longstanding large ensembles are here, including percussionists Bob Becker, Russ Hartenberger, Garry Kvistad, and James L. Preiss, mainly on marimba and vibes. The Synergy vocal ensemble add all the theatrics possible, while veteran pianists Edmund Niemann and Nurit Tilles stand fast in their role to drive this music into the 21st century. Three Tales is yet another stunning accomplishment in Steve Reich's illustrious career, but these descriptions can never really do it justice. Please, when you purchase this item, take your time in watching, listening, and reflecting on how the human condition (in both its depth and shallowness) and its feats, tragedies, triumphs, and consequences still steadfastly allow us to retain hope and optimism for a better world.

Review by Michael G. Nastos, Allmusic.com

Steve Reich & Beryl Korot - Three Tales (2003) CD + DVD



Tracklist:

01. Hindenburg - Nibelung Zeppelin (03:19)
02. Hindenburg - A Very Impressive Thing To See (02:35)
03. Hindenburg - I Couldn't Understand It (05:20)

04. Bikini - In The Air - 1 (01:23)
05. Bikini - The Atoll - 1 (01:45)
06. Bikini - On The Ships - 1 (02:46)
07. Bikini - In The Air - 2 (01:53)
08. Bikini - The Atoll - 2 (02:28)
09. Bikini - On The Ships - 2 (02:43)
10. Bikini - In The Air - 3 (01:57)
11. Bikini - The Atoll - 3 (02:48)
12. Bikini - On The Ships - 3 (02:15)
13. Bikini - Coda (02:16)

14. Dolly - Cloning (02:45)
15. Dolly - Dolly (01:52)
16. Dolly - Human Body Machine (06:12)
17. Dolly - Darwin (04:03)
18. Dolly - Interlude (00:30)
19. Dolly - Robots/Cyborgs/Immortality (10:37)


Exact Audio Copy V1.0 beta 3 from 29. August 2011

EAC extraction logfile from 18. July 2013, 23:30

Steve Reich / Three Tales

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foobar2000 1.2 / Dynamic Range Meter 1.1.1
log date: 2015-04-17 21:54:23

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Analyzed: Steve Reich / Three Tales
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

DR Peak RMS Duration Track
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
DR12 -0.73 dB -16.20 dB 3:19 01-Hindenburg - Nibelung Zeppelin
DR10 -4.06 dB -17.92 dB 2:35 02-Hindenburg - A Very Impressive Thing To See
DR13 -0.50 dB -16.76 dB 5:20 03-Hindenburg - I Couldn't Understand It
DR15 -0.10 dB -21.01 dB 1:24 04-Bikini - In The Air - 1
DR13 -0.46 dB -19.37 dB 1:46 05-Bikini - The Atoll - 1
DR10 -0.10 dB -13.43 dB 2:46 06-Bikini - On The Ships - 1
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DR10 -0.10 dB -12.37 dB 2:44 09-Bikini - On The Ships - 2
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DR15 -0.10 dB -19.71 dB 2:48 11-Bikini - The Atoll - 3
DR10 -0.10 dB -11.77 dB 2:16 12-Bikini - On The Ships - 3
DR12 -1.02 dB -19.84 dB 2:17 13-Bikini - Coda
DR12 -0.52 dB -15.60 dB 2:45 14-Dolly - Cloning
DR11 -0.43 dB -15.45 dB 1:53 15-Dolly - Dolly
DR12 -0.19 dB -14.74 dB 6:13 16-Dolly - Human Body Machine
DR12 -0.28 dB -14.09 dB 4:04 17-Dolly - Darwin
DR11 -2.03 dB -20.42 dB 0:31 18-Dolly - Interlude
DR12 -0.10 dB -15.97 dB 10:37 19-Dolly - Robots/Cyborgs/Immortality
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Number of tracks: 19
Official DR value: DR12

Samplerate: 44100 Hz
Channels: 2
Bits per sample: 16
Bitrate: 686 kbps
Codec: FLAC
================================================================================

Steve Reich & Beryl Korot - Three Tales (2003) CD + DVD

Steve Reich & Beryl Korot - Three Tales (2003) CD + DVD

Steve Reich & Beryl Korot - Three Tales (2003) CD + DVD

Steve Reich & Beryl Korot - Three Tales (2003) CD + DVD

Steve Reich & Beryl Korot - Three Tales (2003) CD + DVD

Steve Reich & Beryl Korot - Three Tales (2003) CD + DVD

Steve Reich & Beryl Korot - Three Tales (2003) CD + DVD

Steve Reich & Beryl Korot - Three Tales (2003) CD + DVD


DVD Content:

Hindenburg:

01. It Could Not Have Been A Technical Matter
02. Nibelung Zeppelin
03. A Very Impressive Thing To See
04. I Couldn't Understand It

Bikini:

05. In The Air - 1
06. The Atoll - 1
07. On The Ships - 1
08. In The Air - 2
09. The Atoll - 2
10. On The Ships - 2
11. In The Air - 3
12. The Atoll - 3
13. On The Ships - 3
14. Coda

Dolly:

15. Cloning
16. Dolly
17. Human Body Machine
18. Darwin
19. Interlude
20. Robots/Cyborgs/Immortality




Steve Reich & Beryl Korot - Three Tales (2003) CD + DVD

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