Tehillim (1981) is a favorite Reich work of mine, so of course I couldn’t resist sharing this multimedia extravaganza. Named after the Hebrew word for the Psalms, twenty-three performers groove through each twisting canon following the agogic accents of the Biblical text. Surprisingly or not, Tehillim sounds quite unlike traditional Jewish recitations of the Torah. In the composer’s words:
The overall sound of Tehillim, and in particular, the intricately interlocking percussion writing which, together with the text, marks this music as unique by introducing a basic musical element that one does not find in earlier Western musical practice including the music of this century. Tehillim may thus be heard as traditional and new at the same time.