Steve Reich’s WTC 9/11 Album Art

The album art is a modification of the Masatomo Kuriya photo of the second plane heading into the towers. One commenter on Nonesuch’s site calls it “the first truly despicable classical album cover that I have ever seen.”

The album won’t be released until this September, almost on the tenth anniversary of the attacks. I’ve heard that, like Different Trains, it uses audio from broadcasts and interviews for musical material. If you find the album art distasteful I don’t understand how you wouldn’t find the composition itself in poor taste.

Album art is revealed before release all the time, but here it feels like somebody is trying to manufacture a controversy for marketing, and that, I think, is in poor taste.

I remember reading about Reich’s treatment of Different Trains and the Reich Remixed project, in which he forbid the project from using Different Trains as source material. I’d think the same view would be used towards his WTC piece, as if he considers it to be at a sacred level above his other work.

Edit: Looks like they’re changing it.