Steve Reich – Mallet Quartet
Mallet Quartet on Vic Firth
The 2009 Mallet Quartet sounds like vintage Reich: a smooth minimalist sheen on the surface which belies structures that are beguilingly complex, the timbres of dull and bright tuned percussion instruments nourishing each other. Sō Percussion have it nailed, finding both the inner glow and the outer edge, and never letting the tapestry lapse into the flat or routine.
Mallet Quartet (2009), co-commissioned and performed by Sō Percussion, is scored for two vibraphones and two five-octave marimbas. TheNew York Times said of a recent Carnegie Hall performance: “Sō Percussion’s energetic account…pointed up one of Mr. Reich’s current modes of propulsion: a two-tiered approach in which the rhythmically repetitive backdrop that listeners hear as Minimalist (and as the music’s distinctively Reichian signature) is offset by restless, melodically adventurous top lines. There were other contrasts here: the repeating figures, for marimbas, were dark and subdued, with a warm, wooden tone; the themes, played on vibraphones, were cool, bright and lively.”