The album cover for the Kronos Quartet's new Nonesuch recording
of Steve Reich's WTC 9/11 has provoked strong
reactions online. Posters to contemporary classical music site
Sequenza 21 and the Nonesuch website have questioned the label's
artistic taste, with some calling the cover tacky and
The cover, which was unveiled last week ahead of the album's release on 6 September, uses a manipulated image of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The way in which photographer Masatomo Kuriya's shot has been darkened and tinted drew particular criticism, and led one disgusted poster to remark, 'When did Nonesuch hire Jerry Bruckheimer?' a reference to the frequent use of brooding, overly atmospheric skylines in the Hollywood blockbusters that Bruckheimer has produced.
WTC 9/11 is the third quartet that Reich has written for the Kronos Quartet. The piece is scored for three quartets and pre-recorded voices, the latter including air traffic controllers and fire department workers responding to the attacks as they happened, and New Yorkers remembering the tragedy years later.
Reich and his family lived four blocks from the World Trade Center at the time of the attacks. Nonesuch quotes the composer as saying: 'On 9/11 we were in Vermont, but our son, granddaughter, and daughter-in-law were all in our apartment. Our phone connection stayed open for six hours and our next-door neighbours were finally able to drive north out of the city with their family and ours. For us, 9/11 was not a media event.'