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Terry Riley: In C [Import]

T. Riley Audio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 11, 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Alliance
  • ASIN: B00005NUPM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

1. In C [Live] - Bang On A Can

Editorial Reviews

Bang on a Can prove once again why they're one of the most exciting New Music ensembles performing today with this riveting version of Terry Riley's In C. There are a handful of recordings available of this minimalist masterpiece, but Bang on a Can's--featuring violin, chimes, clarinet, mandolin, and bass at the fore--is easily one of the best. The delicate tremolo of Scott Kuney's mandolin gives the entire recording a nervous energy that's much needed on this New Music warhorse. The piercing violin of Todd Reynolds is haunting, and Mark Stewart's electric guitar gives the ensemble added sonic punch. Throughout, Bang on a Can sound less like they're jamming and more like a taut musical machine bursting at the seams, running through Riley's motifs with abandon. It's a new, slightly ominous take on In C, but one that was much needed. Recommended. --Jason Verlinde

Product Description

In 1964, Terry Riley kicked off a revolution with his landmark piece, "In C" -- inspiring such young composers as Philip Glass and Steve Reich. Now, Bang on a Can reinterprets this minimalist claassic with an explosive combination of instruments from around the globe, propelling this transcendental 60's masterpiece into the future.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sleek new version of the minimalist masterpiece October 14, 2001
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Terry Riley's "In C" has been called groovy and euphoric. It is definitely a product of its times, the 1960s, and is by now a classic of the 20th century, right up alongside "The Rite of Spring." ("New Music" can't any longer apply to 37-year-old music -- "Late 20th Century" seems more accurate.) The score for "In C" is simply a succession of 53 simple motifs, for "any group of musicians," to be played in succession for any amount of time! The piece moves from C, to E minor, to C, to G minor, revolving as the instruments shift from motif to motif one by one. From simplicity emerges complexity, and every performance will be unique.

I was skeptical that this new Bang On a Can version, recorded in 1998, could equal the great 25th Anniversary concert with Riley himself, on New Albion, but it does, with a quite different approach. The 1990 recording is 76 minutes long, while this 1998 version is only 44 minutes long. Evan Ziporyn's Bang On a Can ensemble has only 11 musicians, while the 1990 version had 31. (Ziporyn played bass clarinet for Riley's 1990 concert.) The feel is quite different, with a sense of urgency and inexorability in contrast to the sense of endless, timeless cycling in the 1990 version. Riley and three others add vocals to the long 1990 version, which adds to the mystical, Eastern transcendental experience. Bang On a Can, with prominent bass, creates a distinctly Western "In C," which realizes Riley's goal of awakening and enlightenment in a more immanent way, through the flow of time in modern life, rather than outside it.

Simply superb, an essential interpretation for the new millennium.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A minimalist classic in a bold new rendition July 30, 2003
Format:Audio CD
Usually the pianist in this piece is saddled with "the pulse," a series of repeated octaves acting as a rhythmic spine holding the score together for its mesmerizing 45 minutes. Fortunately in this case, the outstanding Australian artist Lisa Moore is given more interesting tasks, while the monotony of banging out these notes is handed over to a laptop computer.
For those who are inclined toward Riley's pioneering experiment, this will be arresting and rewarding listening. The score fits on a single page, and consists of a series of 53 short instrumental figures, designed to be played in order by any combination of instruments. Each musician performs a given figure as many times as desired before moving on to the next one. The score is designed so that all figures mesh with each other, resulting in a huge wall of sound, slowly evolving as the musicians reach new plateaus.
Compared to the relative innocence and sunshine of the original, this one has a raucous, fiery quality that I like even better. The go-for-broke Bang on a Can crew gives it a loud, intense performance that is especially satisfying in the climactic thickets, when the entire group seems immersed in throbbing harmonic waves. It would be hard to single out musicians, but Evan Ziporyn's beautiful clarinet cannot go unnoticed, as well as David Cossin's excellent work on glockenspiel and vibraphone, and Maya Beiser on cello. But pretty much everyone here seems to be having a great time, and the effect is flat-out exhilarating.
The original version, still available on Sony, has its own charms, and there is an intriguingly delicate one with the Shanghai Film Orchestra (Celestial Harmonies), but this is now my favorite -- involved, committed and extremely powerful. Cantaloupe's sound is crystal-clear, and the lively packaging is excellent, too -- mostly bright orange and green graphics that do both Terry Riley and the group proud.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
in the energy of the performance. I've had the original recording for a long time, and have enjoyed it as the first "definitive" sound of the piece. But this Bang On A Can version brings out the real inner beauty of the piece. WIth fewer musicians, and such diverse instrumentation, the individual lines stand out clearly while still blending into the overall mix and wash of sound.
I just listened to this for the first time and I am in total rapture from it.
All I can say is WOW.
This is an excellent recording of In C, not to be missed.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Even BETTER than the original? July 26, 2002
Format:Audio CD
I've been listening to various versions of "In C" for several years, and never could find one that really seemed to sound right, until I heard this one, which in it's very freshness hits the mark. The main problems with the other versions (notably Riley's 1964 original and the 25th anniversary recording) seemed to be the instrumentation - too much mallet percussion, which makes the piece sound like it's being performed by a Gamelan orchestra, or the overabundance of woodwinds and saxophones, whivh make it sound like a bad Soft Machine jam. But in this recording BOAC brings in new, western sounds to the In C catalog, such as Bass, Electric Guitar, Violin, and Synthesizer, giving the performance an urgent, driving feeling (I think one reviewer put it as a "nervous energy").
As always with this surreal, everchanging piece, there are several moments where the band members (unintentionally?) phrase together at just the right moments. My favorite is at around 9:40 or so, when the violin and piano mesh together in an unexpected, completely satisfying way. Aaaaah...
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It will leave you speechless. November 7, 2003
Format:Audio CD
Something that has always struck me about In C is that it is, at its core, all about the joy of making music. I do not know whether this was Riley's intention or not. Nevertheless, no other recording captures that element so energetically and resoundingly as Bang on a Can's performance.
From the very start, it is obvious this is going to be a very different experience than what fans might expect. The first thing that caught my attention, and made me smile, was the piano in there playing parts instead of being relegated to its usual position as an expensive metronome. This version seems also to have many more crescendos and decrescendos during its forty-five minute length. It is so much fun to listen to one instrument suddenly give rise a powerful presence and the others build around the base, then peel off into their own tangents. It is like a great swelling and ebbing of chaotic tides. I smiled as, like old friends, I heard familiar melodies bursting forth in new ways.
As another person put it, this recording makes the listener feel happy to be alive, especially if they find joy in music. I would also go so far to suggest that those who are new to In C might find this a better place to start than the classic renditions. They all have their own strengths. However, something about the richness and sizzling energy mixed with effortless delicacy and foreboding in BoaC's version makes the composition extremely accessible, despite its decidedly experimental basis.
Since I found this disc three days ago, I have already listened to it countless times. Sometimes focusing on the pounding C note is fun, letting everything else flower around it; other times following one or two musicians is fun; or just letting the whole cacophony wash over at once. To the power of the bass, the sizzle of the mandolin, the soaring of the violin, and the dancing of the saxophone-- highly recommended!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars classic
Today, in your car or watching TV, you probably heard some minimalist music without even knowing it. Read more
Published on August 6, 2010 by Bill Your 'Free Form FM Print DJ
5.0 out of 5 stars The unceasing pulse of the Universe
I can listen to this piece over & over & over ... really, what else has to be said? Its sheer energy seems to fill the air with visibly burning notes, like melodic bursts of... Read more
Published on December 8, 2009 by William Timothy Lukeman
2.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelmed
I think that this CD is a good effort but there are far too many essential musical elements missing to call this a "stellar performance. Read more
Published on May 13, 2008 by Sean Perrin
4.0 out of 5 stars In C: You never forget your first girl
(Never mind that the America-market tagline is from St. Pauli Beer, and when they came up with it, they were no doubt laughing themselves silly because St. Read more
Published on November 9, 2006 by Stephen Foster
5.0 out of 5 stars Good, very good, and it varies
This is a good rendition of In C. There are so many different versions played by so many very different groups whose approaches vary greatly. Read more
Published on February 23, 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Could use better booklet
This is a nice recording of an interesting piece, although in this genre I think Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians is a more haunting, beautiful piece, mainly because it uses... Read more
Published on April 30, 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars It's love it or hate it music...
Personally, I find Terry Riley's music gorgeous, but it's the sort of thing that really polarizes people; four years ago the wind ensemble I play in performed Riley's "Olson... Read more
Published on March 19, 2002 by Brian Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful recording
Everyone else has gone into depth about the hows and whys of "In C." All I want to say about it is - it'll make you feel glad to be alive. And that means alot these days. Read more
Published on December 15, 2001 by Glamateur
5.0 out of 5 stars Minimalism's Classic
Like the last of the Baby-Boomers (and some Gen-Xers), Terry Riley's In C is now approaching middle age. Read more
Published on November 19, 2001 by Jeff Abell
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