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Rethinking Reich$
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Sumanth Gopinath and Pwyll ap Siôn

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190605285

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190605285.001.0001

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From World War II to the “War on Terror”

From World War II to the “War on Terror”

An Examination of Steve Reich’s “Docu-Music” Approach in WTC 9/11

(p.159) 7 From World War II to the “War on Terror”
Rethinking Reich

Celia Casey

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates aspects of the creative process behind Reich’s “docu-music” work, WTC 9/11 (2010), which constitutes the composer’s response to the terrorist attacks in the United States of America, specifically those in New York City, on September 11, 2001. Sketch materials, including recorded interviews, computer files, and handwritten sketches, belonging to the Steve Reich Collection at the Paul Sacher Stiftung in Basel, Switzerland, reveal how both documentary content and musical design have informed the work. Based on an analysis of these materials, three aspects relating to the creative process of WTC 9/11 are examined: the treatment of speech recordings; the direction of interviews; and structural and referential elements of the work. This chapter not only reveals insights into Reich’s compositional process and techniques but also uncovers other significant factors in the composer’s docu-music approach, such as how autobiographical elements inform his work.

Keywords:   Steve Reich, WTC 9/11, 9/11, docu-music, documentary, creative process, speech melody, prosody, intonation, composer as director, stop-action sound

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