Steve Reich’s ‘Traveler’s Prayer’ making its US debut at Carnegie Hall

Composer Steve Reich's latest work, Traveler's Prayer, is making its US premiere in NYC on November 1 at Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium. Tickets are on sale. The piece, which was co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall, will be performed by percussionists Colin Currie Group and Synergy Vocals.

When Colin Currie Group and Synergy Vocals performed in London in 2021, The Guardian wrote:

Traveler’s Prayer was composed last year, begun before and completed during the pandemic. It’s a setting not of the Hebrew Traveller’s Prayer itself, but of three short Old Testament passages that are often added to it, and Reich sets them for four voices in long sinuous vocal lines, often doubled and coloured by the instrumental ensemble, and making extensive use of intertwining canons and their inversions and retrogrades. Reich has said that the music is “closer to Josquin des Prez than Stravinsky”, though the opening section for two tenors (which takes up half of the 16-minute work) does seem to hark back to late Stravinsky, especially to Threni. It’s a muted, rather contained piece, low on rhythmic energy, rooted in the same tonality throughout, and very different from anything Reich has composed before.

You can listen to a recording of the piece by Colin Currie Group and Synergy Vocals below. The Carnegie Hall concert, billed as a celebration of Reich (who just turned 86 earlier this month), also features performances of two other Reich pieces: Tehillim and Music for 18 Musicians.

In other Steve Reich news, back in September he released album Runner / Music for Ensemble, which features the first recordings of those two pieces, written for a large ensemble of winds, percussion, pianos, and strings, by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and conducted by Susanna Mälkki. You can listen to that below as well.