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ZOFO Plays Terry Riley [CD + Blu-ray Audio]

Riley / Zofo
Release Date: 05/26/2015 
Label:  Sono Luminus   Catalog #: 92189   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Terry Riley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ZOFO Duet
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

If the name Terry Riley, the so-called “Godfather of Minimalism”, brings to mind meditative drones and tape loops, prepare to be pleasantly surprised by this splendid new recording from the piano duo Zofo. Riley’s compositional method quite naturally evolved in the 51 years since his groundbreaking magnum opus In C, and the works on this CD are wonderfully varied, reflecting the composer’s mastery of multiple idioms as well as his cleverness and skill at holding your attention.

The program offers four selections from Riley’s The Heaven Ladder, including Etude from the Old Country, a folksy, rhythmically propulsive, syncopated study, and Waltz for Charismas, a very serious,
Read more quasi-tonal etude that suddenly shifts gears with snatches of Johnny Mercer’s Hooray for Hollywood!

The rapid repeated patterns opening Half-Wolf Dances Mad in Moonlight are the only thing on this disc that could be even remotely considered “minimalist”, but they soon form the rhythmic backdrop of a brilliantly frenetic and demonic dance. There’s dancing of a decidedly lighter variety in the joyful and jaunty Praying Mantis Rag, which amazingly lives up to its title. The program ends with Riley’s virtuosic and discursive tone poem Cinco de Mayo.

Zofo players Eva-Maria Zimmerman and Keisuke Nakagoshi offer tour de force performances that convey the music with visceral impact, all captured in vivid recorded sound. If you like pianos, great playing, and engaging music, you owe it to yourself to hear this excellent disc.

-- Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

The Heaven Ladder, Book 5 by Terry Riley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ZOFO Duet
Half-Wolf Dances Mad in Moonlight by Terry Riley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ZOFO Duet
The Heaven Ladder, Book 7: Simone's Lullaby by Terry Riley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ZOFO Duet
G Song by Terry Riley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ZOFO Duet
Praying Mantis Rag by Terry Riley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ZOFO Duet

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Interesting contemporary music from Terry Riley,  October 7, 2015 By Warren Harris See All My Reviews "This CD/DVD set consists of 9 pieces written by Terry Riley as interpreted/transcribed by ZOFO (one piano, four hands), and an interesting series of works this is. The well written liner notes describe the interaction of the two pianists (Eva-Maria Zimmermann and Keisuke Nakagoshi) with Mr. Riley and his music. ZOFO (literally 20 finger orchestra) is the ensemble of the two soloists that focuses on the 20th and 21st century music as brought to life with one piano, four hands. In this case, the result is music that is both transcribed for this arrangement, and written for this arrangement (“Praying Mantis Rag”). What is particularly special here is that the composer was actively involved in the project, not only writing “Praying Mantis Rag” for the ensemble, but also giving interpretive and artistic guidance to the project as a whole. The CD/DVD is both a collaborative effort, and a realization of both the possibilities and difficulties of dealing with overlapping octave ranges when two pianists are sharing the same keyboard. The audible results are stunning. Ms. Zimmermann and Mr. Nakagoshi are a formidable duo, and even though each had differing perspectives on some of the works, the pair form a cohesive and captivating whole. Particularly enjoyable is their arrangement of “G Song”, and the “Praying Mantis Rag” (written by Mr. Riley specifically for this duo) is just simply delightful. And “Cinco de Mayo” is just a treat to listen to. This is a two disc set, one Blu-Ray and the other a traditional CD. The audio quality of the Blu-Ray disc is unbelievable, and the CD itself is also of great quality. And while Mr. Riley’s music is clearly contemporary in nature, the music is approachable and pleasing, especially as brought to life by this duo. If Terry Riley’s music is something that you enjoy, then you absolutely must have this recording. If you are not familiar with Mr. Riley’s music, then open yourself to the musical journey contained herein. While I am rather a strict critic of new music, I do find myself particularly attracted to the soundscape brought to life on this recording. Strongly recommended!" Report Abuse
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