TERRY RILEY (b.1935): The Palmian Chord Ryddle for Electric Violin and Orchestra, At the Royal Majestic for Organ and Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 12T050
Description: The world's most multifaceted and complicated post-minimalist continues to surprise and delight as he moves into his eighties, and unexpectedly starts turning out large-scale concerti for virtuoso soloists and full (if idiosyncratically structured) orchestras. At the Royal Majestic (the title evoking "the mighty Wurlitzer housed in the grand movie palaces" in the composer's words) draws on influences as diverse as the works of schizophrenic Swiss artist Adolf Wölfli, Tibetan mysticism and the composer's long-time love of jazz in a three-movement concerto the wide-ranging neo-romanticism of which may surprise listeners who still primarily associate Riley with the foundations of minimalism. The repeating and overlapping patterns are still a fundamental building block of the composer's idiom, but in this work they are more likely to evoke boogie-woogie than the process patterns of minimalism. The first movement is a dreamlike series of images around the idea of a jazz age dance hall, prefaced by an impressive introduction from the full forces; the second ends as a dissonant blues funeral march, and the finale is Riley's take on the Romantic organ-and orchestra epic, the organ reinforcing the imposing orchestral soundscape. The Palmian Chord Ryddle is based on a scale heard in a dream, from which the composer extracts various modes to illustrate an autobiographical travelogue through various cultures from his long and varied background. Indian rāga is important, but so are jazz and other folk musics. The unusual timbre and range of Silverman's six-string instrument (in its lower register it sounds like a saxophone) are additional attractions in this optimistic, feel-good personal memoir. Tracy Silverman (violin), Todd Wilson (organ), Nashville Symphony; Giancarlo Guerrero.