The Desert Music” was a transitional work for Steve Reich. Composed in 1982, this suite for chorus and instruments exists in two versions—one for large orchestra and chorus, the other (which we’ve just heard) for a smaller chamber group. At this point, Reich was moving away from electronic tape music and the extreme avant-gardism that had characterized his early career, and towards more traditional musical genres and subjects. With texts taken from a book by American poet William Carlos Williams, “The Desert Music” uses the idea of the Desert to examine man’s capacity for self-awareness and discipline. Reich has explained his choice of texts with allusions to the Desert as a site for both biblical revelation and modern atomic testing.