- In C, for unspecified performers (41:56)
Terry Riley: In Cby Terry Riley
Terry Riley would certainly bristle at the idea of there being a "definitive" version of "In C" since it was created with the intention of having an infinite number of interpretive possibilities, but this version, a reissue of the original Columbia recording, led by the composer, has a certain authority since it was the means by which the piece was introduced to a broad public and it paved the way for the biggest revolution in classical composition in the second half of the twentieth century. It has the hallmarks that came to define musical minimalism: triadic harmony, a slow rate of harmonic change, a steady pulse, and the use of repetitive patterns. In this performance, it has a shiny, almost metallic brightness and a visceral energy that immediately set it apart from the intellectually rigorous and austere trends in the new music establishment of the 1960s. The performance, by members of the Center of the Creative and Performing Arts of SUNY Buffalo, is disciplined, staying within the parameters Riley prescribes, but is also freely inventive, taking advantage of the opportunities Riley gives the performers for creative self-expression. The result sounds spontaneous but assured, never chaotic or capricious. The ensemble understood and had rehearsed the piece thoroughly, performing it at Carnegie Hall not long before this recording was made in 1968, when the piece was already four years old. For listeners with a sympathy for minimalism, the energy of this performance can be a wild and exhilarating ride, and it will be a nostalgic trip for anyone who knew it in its earlier incarnations on LP or cassette tape. The original tape has been remastered by Bob Ludwig and has all the vitality and clarity of a spanking new recording.
- Release Date:
- Sony Classics
Performance CreditsTerry Riley Primary Artist
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Of course, there've been many fascinating recordings of Riley's masterpiece over the years. I had this one and lost it during a move, and I thought I could make do with the 25th-anniversary performance on New Albion. But in the end, I went back to the original because it has the excitement that's natural when with a piece of music is still relatively young in its performance history.