Steve Reich’s Different Trains for string quartet and tape, composed in 1988, is a seminal work of American minimalism. It is music which is simultaneously in motion and at stasis. On one level, we sense the forward rush of passenger trains connecting New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles during the 1930s. On another level, we can imagine the time-altering hypnotic blur of the incessantly passing countryside from the window.
The Russian composer and alternative rock musician, Pavel Karmanov (b. 1970), is often labeled a post-minimalist. His 1996 work, Different…rains for flute, piano and magnetic tape, surely pays homage, through its title, to Reich’s piece. It sets up a similar dichotomy of motion and stasis. Throughout the piece, interlocking flute and piano lines chase one another against a backdrop of eternally shifting harmony and the recorded sounds of rain. There are echoes of the ambient strains of the German electronic music group, Tangerine Dream.
- Karmanov: Different…rains, Olga Ivusheikova, Alexei Lubimov Amazon
Featured Image: photograph by Joshua Sampson