“Steve Reich: Variations for Winds, Strings and Keyboards; John Adams: Shaker Loops” is an album that contains the first recordings of the two orchestral works based on minimalism by American composers: Steve Reich and John Adams.
The album was recorded digitally at Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco in 1983 by Edo de Waart (conductor) and the San Francisco Symphony, and it was released by Philips Records in the same year. The running time is 48 minutes.
Steve Reich: Variations for Winds, Strings and Keyboards (1979)
“Variations for Winds, Strings and Keyboards” was scored in 1979 by Steve Reich for oboes, flutes, full brass (three trumpets, three trombones, and tuba), strings, pianos, and electric organs. It was Reich’s first orchestral piece.
The full orchestral version was premiered by the San Francisco Symphony at the War Memorial Auditorium in San Francisco in 1980.
The chord form for the piece was taken from the opening of the second movement of Béla Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in G major, Sz. 95, BB 101 (1930–1931).
John Adams: Shaker Loops (1978/1983)
“Shaker Loops” was originally a piece of chamber music written in 1978 by John Adams for string septet (three violins, one viola, two cellos, and one double bass). After much revision, it was remade as a suite in four parts for string orchestra in 1983.
It includes repeating loops of tremolo strings like oscillations.
The string orchestra version was premiered by Michael Tilson Thomas (conductor) and the American Composers Orchestra at Alice Tully Hall, New York, in 1983.
Both are accessible compositions that incorporated minimalism as music of repetitions and gradations with the rich sound of orchestra.