Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Personnel: Terry Riley (vocals); Raôul Duguay, Ensemble Vocal De Montreal, Mihr Un Nisa Douglass, Blake Derby (vocals); Robin Hornstein, Nathalie Albert (soprano); Isabelle Ouellet, Sylvie Gauthier, Rene Voyer (alto); Jean-Sebastien Allaire, David Packer (tenor, tenor saxophone); Philippe Daviel (tenor); Yves Seguin, Martin Auclair, Olivier Laquerre (bass voice); Henry Kaiser (guitar); Louise-Andrée Baril (harp, piano); Geneviève Beaudry, David Harrington, John Sherba (violin); Hank Dutt (viola); Sylvie Lambert, Joan Jeanrenaud (cello); Lise Daoust, Bill Douglas (flute); Ramon Sender (accordion); John Sackett (clarinet); Evan Ziporyn (bass clarinet); Lise Beauchamp (oboe, English horn); Bene Bernard (bassoon); George Brooks, Bruce Ackley (soprano saxophone); Steve Adams (alto saxophone); Philippe Daviet, Stephen Coughlin (tenor saxophone); Jon Raskin (baritone saxophone); Manon Lafrance (trumpet); Jocelyn Veilleux, Michèle Gagnon, Michele Gagon (French horn); Albert Devito, Don Howe, Toyoji Tomita (trombone); Alain Cazes (tuba); Warner Jepson (piano); Chris Brown , Alden Jenks (synthesizer); Gino Robair (marimba); Bill Maginnis (glockenspiel); Don Baker , Danny Tunick (xylophone); George Marsh (drums).
Liner Note Authors: Randall Packer; Douglas Leedy; Teddy Riley; Walter Boudreau.
Recording information: 01/14/1990.
Ensembles: Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ) Ensemble; Ensemble Vocal De Montreal.
Photographer: Wang Heng.
Terry Riley's "In C" was a landmark composition in the history of minimalist music and, arguably, in 20th century music in general. Originally released on Columbia in a performance version from 1965, its 25th anniversary was heralded by this release featuring a veritable who's who of West Coast avant-garde classical and jazz musicians, including members of the Rova Saxophone Quartet and the Kronos Quartet, guitarist Henry Kaiser, and Riley himself on voice. The score for "In C" consists of 53 short phrases (some only one note long) to be played by any instruments in a prescribed sequence but with the ability of the performer to determine tempo, how often the phrase is repeated (if at all), dynamics, and more, all accompanied by a steady pulse of eighth notes from the piano, whose role here is taken by William Winant's marimba. This unique combination of structure and deviation from structure tends to produce a wonderfully vibrant, constantly shifting fabric of sound with the brief, melodic fragments (many of them very reminiscent of Southeast Asian music) causing the work to retain an essential "In C"-ness while allowing for great variation. This ensemble is 29-strong, with a very wide range of instrumentation that makes for an impressive amount of sonic coloration. It's an impressive and worthwhile performance, although one can't help but miss the palpable tinge of excitement that, perhaps necessarily, was far more present in the original recording. But this album does show how utterly vital and not tied to its time "In C" is and can certainly be recommended to all Terry Riley fans. ~ Brian Olewnick
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