Notes and Editorial Reviews
Terry Riley's In C is a democratic work in which every player makes his or her own decisions about how often to play the 53 brief motifs of which the score consists.
For it to work each player must listen intently and react instantly. Every performance will sound rather different for that reason, and because any number of players, using any form of melody instrument, may take part.
In two senses this might be regarded as a happy medium of a performance: Riley's own, on New Albion, uses about 30 players and lasts for an hour and a quarter; while Piano Circus on Argo, who use three types of piano, two harpischords and vibraphone, take barely 20 minutes, no doubt partly because because they accommodate Terry Riley's
Six Pianos on the same disc. Bang on a Can, with some doublings, use four bowed and three plucked strings, two woodwind, piano and four tuned percussion, and their reading seems neither protracted nor contracted at 46 minutes. Obviously the more players are involved the longer it is likely to take, but by the same token the textures at any given point are likely to be richer. The sound is fairly bassy, and for that reason whenever the doublebass player decides to repeat one motif for a minute or so it is likely to assume something like a soloistic prominence, thus to become less 'democratic', but for the most part the instruments are well chosen to ensure a lively texture and a fluid continuum of change.
In C makes addicts of some listeners, while others cannot bear to listen to it and its unvarying pulse of octave C's for more than a minute or two. I am betwixt and between, not wanting to listen to it very often, but not wanting to be without a recording of it. If there are other listeners of that kind, and I suspect there are quite a few, this betwixt and between performance should suit them very nicely; it is closely, head-ringingly recorded.
-- Michael Oliver, Gramophone
Works on This Recording
In C by Terry Riley
Bang on a Can
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1964; USA
Be the first to review this title