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WTC 9/11

What I noticed about this piece was that, starting about halfway through, when the recorded voices that emerge from the string music become¬†intelligible, the recordings are played in the same way. First, we hear a snippet, then the snippet plus the seconds that follow come immediately afterward (e.g. “Plane just crashed- Plane just crashed into the world trade-” (2:10), “Every available- Every available ambulance-” (2:19), “The plane was aiming t- The plane was aiming toward the building” (2:26), etc.). To me, this pattern resembled a double take, as if people couldn’t immediately process what was happening. This pattern doesn’t change much during the second half of the movement, which made me think that Reich didn’t want us to try and process the event, just to experience it as it lives on through these voices. The strings that play throughout the piece lend it a strong sense of urgency and confusion – in the heat of the moment, there is no time for analysis. The effect this immediacy produces is pure shock and stark, unexamined horror. This is not a piece that mourns the dead or tries to elevate their memories to some kind of martyrdom.

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