Minimalist composer Terry Riley premiered his work 'In C' in 1964, a big influence on minimalism in contemporary composition and on subsequent works by composers like Philip Glass, Steve Reich and John Adams. 1967’s 'A Rainbow In Curved Air' and its companion piece 'Poppy Nogood And The Phantom Band' – both mixing repetition, electronics and tape-manipulation – were often performed in marathon, trance-inducing performances, and Riley was regarded a cult musician in avantgarde rock music circles. This 2-CD set presents two radio sessions recorded 1975 in Cologne, newly remastered from the original tapes for optimal sound.
After Terry Riley's revolutionary In C, it certainly never seemed that the compositionally brash cofounder of the minimalist movement would take on a lyrical bent. But that's what he's done on this collection of pieces for violin, guitar, and percussion. Violinist Tracy Silverman and guitarist David Tanenbaum play warmly and sublimely on Cantos Desiertos, finding pristine melodies and high, arching curves around which to spread their finesse. Tanenbaum gets unbelievably rich tones from his guitar, and his range is the one consistent ingredient throughout these pieces. He duets with Riley's son Gyan, himself an accomplished guitarist, on "Zamorra" and with percussionist William Winant on Dias de los Muertos. Winant's marimba and gongs are especially appropriate for Tanenbaum's resonant string work, fluctuating from an absolute crispness to a milky froth. Where Riley's chamber works, such as Salome Dances for Peace, are intensely rhythmic, these works veer much more stealthily toward a kind of glorious flowering, even if the blooms are in dusky colors and muted, curvy patterns.
This may be the single most powerful piece of music that the Kronos Quartet has ever recorded, and perhaps that Terry Riley has ever written. This is because Requiem for Adam is so personal, so direct, and experiential. Requiem for Adam was written after the death of Kronos violinist David Harrignton's son. He died, in 1995, at the age of 16, from an aneurysm in his coronary artery. Riley, who is very close to the Harringtons and has a son the same age, has delved deep into the experience of death and resurrection, or, at the very least, transmutation. Requiem for Adam is written in three parts, or movements. The first, "Ascending the Heaven Ladder," is based on a four-note pattern that re-harmonizes itself as it moves up the scale. There are many variations and series based on each of these notes and their changing harmonics, and finally a 5/4 dance as it moves to the highest point on the strings. The drone-like effect is stunning when the listener realizes that the drone is changing shape too, ascending the scale, moving ever upward and taking part in the transmutation of harmony.
Solo piano works, recorded live in Moscow Conservatory on April 18th, 2000. Russian-only release on the Long Arms label. Pieces include: 'Arica', 'Havana Man', 'Negro Hall', 'The Ecstasy', 'Missigono', 'Requiem For Wally'. "The following pieces appear without any editing of the performance. Large sections of these pieces are improvised and I have attempted to preserve the spontaneity of this special evening by presenting my first concert in Moscow exactly as it was played. I hope in some way my offering of this evenings music reflects the deep respect I hold for the great musical traditions of Russia and the Masters who have reached for the stars before me with their awesome genius."– Terry Riley.
"After the widely noticed performance at the „Acht Brücken Festival 2016” at Cologne's Philharmonic Hall, Gregor Schwellenbach, Hauschka, Erol Sarp (of „Grandbrothers“), Daniel Brandt, Paul Frick (both of "Brandt Brauer Frick") and John Kameel Farah will be releasing their interpretation of Steve Reich’s "Six Pianos" as a studio recording via FILM. The re-recording of this piece is an interpretation of Reich’s composition but still far more than just that – it is a modern approach to his idea behind it. "Keyboard Study #1" by Terry Riley is a worthy b-side opposed to Reich’s composition. The piece is kind of a building set of ever lengthening, repetitive patterns played against each other with the right and left hand displaced. The composition proposes various possible combinations for the performer to choose from and repeat at will. And what the performers have chosen proves Gregor Schwellenbach’s assumption: "Especially Terry Riley’s and Steve Reich’s music are open doors for pianists socialized by pop music and their audience".
Performed by the Shanghai Film Orchestra, conducted by Wang Yongji. Truly celestial and a different feeling than American / European performances of this famous piece. This CD also contains David Mingyue Lang's gorgeous Music of a Thousand Springs and his Zen (Ch'an) of Water. Highly recommended.
There is no string quartet that has ever been written that can compare length and diversity with Terry Riley's Salome Dances for Peace. Morton Feldman has written a longer one, but it is confined to his brilliant field of notational relationships and open tonal spaces. Riley's magnum opus, which dwarfs Beethoven's longest quartet by three, is a collection of so many different kinds of music, many of which had never been in string quartet form before and even more of which would – or should – never be rubbing up against one another in the same construct. Riley is a musical polymath, interested in music from all periods and cultures: there are trace elements of jazz and blues up against Indian classical music, North African Berber folk melodies, Native American ceremonial music, South American shamanistic power melodies – and many more. The reason they are brought together in this way is for the telling of an allegorical story. In Riley's re-examining Salome's place in history, he finds a way to redeem both her and the world through her talent.
ZOFO is at it again, this time with an all Terry Riley album, which includes original compositions, arrangements and a special commission by the duet. It is quite evident in this music that the composer and the performers were personally engaged in the making of this electrifying project. From the very beginning, Terry Riley worked in collaboration with ZOFO in the making of this album. Mr Riley himself said: “There is nothing quite like hearing the full 8 octaves of a piano sounding in all its orchestral richness.”
The multifarious pulsings of Adams's Phrygian Gates (all 26 minutes of it) are more palatable here than on some rival versions, and the relatively brief China Gates (just five minutes) are well worth visiting. Terry Riley's pieces are more varied in colour and rhythm, less obviously 'minimalist', than you might have expected, with the worlds of jazz remaining well within earshot. Gloria Cheng-Cochran seems fully absorbed in the tasks to hand, and the sound is superb. California-based pianist Gloria Cheng has become a favoured collaborator with some of the most demanding of today's composer/conductors, including Pierre Boulez, Essa-Pekka Salonen and Oliver Knussen, for her renditions of thorny 20th century scores.