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Terry Riley: Requiem for Adam / The Philosopher's Hand

Terry Riley , Kronos Quartet Audio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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MP3 Music, 4 Songs, 2004 $9.49  
Audio CD, 2001 --  

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Requiem for Adam: 1. Ascending the Heaven Ladder13:21Album Only
listen  2. Requiem for Adam: 2. Cortejo Funebre en el Monte Diablo 7:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Requiem for Adam: 3. Requiem for Adam21:18Album Only
listen  4. The Philosopher's Hand 5:50$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Product Details

  • Performer: Terry Riley, Kronos Quartet
  • Audio CD (September 4, 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B00005NSQV
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #256,180 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

The Kronos Quartet turns in a spectacular performance of three unusually dissimilar Terry Riley compositions grouped under the title Requiem for Adam. Ostensibly the three parts of Requiem are based on the memory of Adam Harrington, the son of Kronos's David Harrington, but none of these works is particularly funereal. The perky, Bartók-influenced "Ascending the Heaven Ladder" gives way (unaccountably) to the harsh electronics of the composer-assisted second movement, "Cortejo Funebre en el Monte Diablo," which in turn leads to the energetic third movement, "Requiem for Adam." This music might have a hard time finding a new audience, but Riley fans--as well as Kronos enthusiasts--will revel in the music and the warm studio ambience. However, the final work here, a five-minute improvisational knockoff called "The Philosopher's Hand," finds Riley on the piano in a deeply meditative mood that could have gone for another hour. It promises much for the future of solo piano music from this gifted composer. --Paul Cook

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A uniquely moving memorial September 14, 2001
Format:Audio CD
Terry Riley has my vote for the title of great American composer. Few composers working today have Riley's ability to range from unbridled fun to profound emotional depth. His long collaboration with the Kronos Quartet brings us this latest work, certainly one of Terry's deepest and most moving. Composed as a memorial after the death of 16-year-old Adam Harrington (son of the Kronos' first violinist), who shared a birthday with Terry's own son, the result is music of great emotional and psychological richness. In the middle movement, electronic sounds, suggestive of pop music, joins the quartet - a homage to the energy and tastes of the young man it memorializes. In the last movement, sliding tones suggest (to my ear) ambulance sirens, even as the work reaches a sense of reassurance in the midst of suffering. In total, it is a work of great tonal beauty and an immeasurable humanity. I bought this CD the day before the World Trade Center was hit, and it has been the one piece of music I've found consoling in the days since that event. It is a mark of Terry's own beauty of spirit that his music speaks to us on such a level. Listen to this work.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Requiem without despair October 3, 2002
Format:Audio CD
Written to mark the premature death of Adam Harrington, teenage son of Kronos violinist David Harrington, "Requiem" is an unusual piece for a work bearing that title. Cut from the same cloth as Riley's previous (and underrated) string quartets, for the most part it would sound at home on "Cadenza at the Night Plain" or "Salome Dances for Peace." It starts with a very energetic movement, somewhere between a scherzo and a loose fugue based on a few simple patterns. But the middle movement comes as a surprise, a sudden burst of electronic instruments announcing a quasi-industrial section rich in complexity. (It actually sounds reminiscent of King Crimson's "ProjeKct" pieces.) The third and final movement returns to the unassisted quartet. Subtitled "Requiem for Adam," its long, sliding notes and anxious motion suddenly give way to a stately, processional interlude suffused with a tender sadness and a gnawing uncertainty. The piece ends with a return to the dance-like energy, closing on a final coda expressed as the two syllables in Adam's name. Perhaps less a traditional requiem than a musical portrait, it's nevertheless a thoroughly fascinating and occasionally moving work. It's followed by "The Philosopher's Hand," a gentle piano solo improvised by Riley in the memory of his mentor, Pandit Pran Nath.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars joining hands April 6, 2008
Format:Audio CD
the first movement, ascending the heaven ladder, opens with a gentle beginning and continues with measured progressions, an arrangement suitable for reflection and memory--a composition marked by the hand of a pianist, listening i had the impression that the first movement would work just as well transcribed for piano. the second movement, cortejo en el monte diablo, is a mixed bag of musical forms, with playback samples created by riley on an ensoniq ts-12. there are few surprises in the third movement, requiem for adam, just good music.

the companion piece, the philosopher's hand, a composition for piano, played by riley, is riley's memory of pandit pran nath taking david harrington's hand at the memorial service for harrington's son, adam, and remarking that pandit pran nath's hand was the softest hand he had ever felt. the philosopher's hand reminds me of the solo piano of chick corea, his now he sobs, now he cries.
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