Steve Reich has a remarkable arrangement for a composer in that he is an exclusive artist for Nonesuch and has been so for more than two decades. Back in 1996, when Reich celebrated his 60th birthday, Nonesuch issued a 10-CD box set of "everything" – all of the works in the Warner Classics vaults that he had recorded, including some new at the time, such as Steve Reich: Works 1965-1995. With Reich's 70th birthday afoot, the earlier set still in print and Nonesuch belonging to a classical music division that is operating on one lung, it has decided on a more modest approach to the newer observance with Steve Reich: Phases – A Nonesuch Retrospective, a collection consisting of five discs.
"After the widely noticed performance at the „Acht Brücken Festival 2016” at Cologne's Philharmonic Hall, Gregor Schwellenbach, Hauschka, Erol Sarp (of „Grandbrothers“), Daniel Brandt, Paul Frick (both of "Brandt Brauer Frick") and John Kameel Farah will be releasing their interpretation of Steve Reich’s "Six Pianos" as a studio recording via FILM. The re-recording of this piece is an interpretation of Reich’s composition but still far more than just that – it is a modern approach to his idea behind it. "Keyboard Study #1" by Terry Riley is a worthy b-side opposed to Reich’s composition. The piece is kind of a building set of ever lengthening, repetitive patterns played against each other with the right and left hand displaced. The composition proposes various possible combinations for the performer to choose from and repeat at will. And what the performers have chosen proves Gregor Schwellenbach’s assumption: "Especially Terry Riley’s and Steve Reich’s music are open doors for pianists socialized by pop music and their audience".
In the afterglow of his 60th birthday in 1997, Nonesuch Records delivered Steve Reich and his listeners an immense gift, this 10-CD retrospective of his work for the label, extending from his earliest tape-manipulation pieces to his most recent compositions utilizing samplers and the video artistry of Beryl Korot. Aside from the ear's liquid sense-making when it hears the dense and limber marimbas of Reich's Six Marimbas or his taut, dizzying Piano Phase, there is a physical response almost inevitable in Reich's music.