Terry Riley: In C

Terry Riley: In C

by Bang On A Can
     
 
If ever there were a popular work of minimalism, one that stated its purpose so clearly it could not be mistaken, Terry Riley's legendary composition In C is the one. It is a work that needs no explanation for its pulsing sequences of pitch all centering around the note and its performances have been numerous if not recordings. The Bang on a Can all-stars have

Overview

If ever there were a popular work of minimalism, one that stated its purpose so clearly it could not be mistaken, Terry Riley's legendary composition In C is the one. It is a work that needs no explanation for its pulsing sequences of pitch all centering around the note and its performances have been numerous if not recordings. The Bang on a Can all-stars have recorded perhaps the most definitive version of the work so far, after Riley's own, which was issued in the 1960s on Columbia's long defunct Odyssey label. This version reads minimalism as popular music and popular music as, finally, classical. The Bang on a Can version is something that is so outrageously wonderful that no one else need ever bother recording it again. This single repeated note, meditatively engaged and then played upon in modulation, is taken by Bang on a Can and torn apart, with gritty, urban vision, rock & roll energy, and pure New York street smarts. Using a wide array of instruments (from piano, vibes, glockenspiel, cello, Wu man's pipa, clarinet, mandolin, soprano saxophone, electric guitar, marimba, chimes, and bass) for 45 minutes, this mind-flexing composition is moved through the sequence of all these instrumentalists, each coloring it just a bit, moving it a tad further outside and into the future, the dynamics shift subtly and change, direction becomes fluid, and the drama becomes white-knuckle tense after such a meditative beginning and then releases again. This is the creation of language, tonal, timbral, and spatial. There is an architecture at work in this version that erects small towers of meaning in sound and piles them atop each other until a sonic Tower of Babel is finally fully erected. The pulse never stops; it never disengages no matter which instrument or group of instruments enters or leaves the fray. It is there, constant, always being born and always dying and being transformed, reincarnated as some other sound, some other phrase, but always identified by the pulse. This is more hypnotic than any rock & roll, and more powerful than any Beethoven symphony is taken in with openness. This is music -- ultimately made by a truly gifted and disciplined ensemble that share a singularly optimistic vision for modern music -- that can, and will, change your life.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times
Bang on a Can's urbane, elegant rendition [of "In C"] sounds nothing like the original recording, a wonderfully shaggy document released by Columbia Masterworks in 1968. But interpretive fidelity is beside the point here. After all, Mr. Riley intended "In C" as "a launching pad for improvisation"... It contains 53 disarmingly simple motifs in C major, to be performed by "any group of musicians." That's right: Mr. Riley didn't specify who should play the piece. The only rule was that each musician had to play each of the 53 fragments in order, for any amount of time, before moving on to the next one... There have been several recordings of In C since 1968, but none more luminous than Bang on a Can’s. Adam Shatz

Product Details

Release Date:
09/11/2001
Label:
Cantaloupe
UPC:
0713746243227
catalogNumber:
21004

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Bang On A Can   Primary Artist,Ensemble
Terry Riley   Track Performer
Scott Kuney   Mandolin
Wu Man   Pipa
Lisa Moore   Piano
Danny Tunick   Chimes,Marimbas
Evan Ziporyn   Clarinet
Todd Reynolds   Violin
Maya Beiser   Cello
Michael Lowenstern   Soprano Saxophone
David Cossin   Glockenspiel,Vibes

Technical Credits

Terry Riley   Composer
Edward Haber   Engineer
Kenny Savelson   Executive Producer
George Wellington   Engineer
David Lang   Executive Producer
Julia Wolfe   Executive Producer
Bang On A Can   Producer
Andrew Cotton   Engineer,Live Sound Engineer
John Schaefer   Producer

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