Sarah Cahill – “Eighty Trips Around the Sun: Music by and for Terry Riley” ( Irritable Hedgehog Music, 2017)

“Eighty Trips Around the Sun: Music by and for Terry Riley” was released on September 29 by “Irritable Hedgehog Music”. Whole album compositions were written by 20th century academical and minimalistic music legend – composer Terry Riley. The music of Terry Riley is based on various 20th century music styles synthesis. He was one of the first composers who had created and masterfully improved minimalistic music and its elements. Terry Riley music is based on expresionism, post-impresionism and minimalism elements. He also use many different musical expressions, unusual instrument combinations and composing techniques. Repetitive rhythmic, melodic and harmonic elements are masterfully combined together with serialism, puantilism, tonal and atonal music elementsw, dodecaphony and other 20th century composing techniques. Impressive and dynamic playing style, unique and interesting composing, bright and vivacious musical language – all these elements are the basic of Terry Riley compositions and make an effort to its sound. The sound of Terry Riley compositions always is very bright, interesting, full of adventurous musical decisions and different styles combinations. “Eighty Trips Around the Sun: Music by and for Terry Riley” has 3 CDs, whose are contained of piano music written by Terry Riley. Three outstanding and masterful pianists had recorded all the compositions – Sarah Cahill, Regina Myers and Samuel Adams.

Album compositions are the part of the most effective and interesting works composed by Terry Riley. “Terry Riley Solo Pieces” are recorded in Disc 1. The set of solo compositions for piano contains of very different and contrasting compositions. Expressive melodies, expresionism and post-impresionism elements, minimalistic music elements, free form and structure – these elements are the main basic of these compositions. The “Two Pieces No.1” and “Two Pieces No.2” are based on expresionism, modernism and atonal music elements. These two compositons have dynamic and expressive melodies, tonal and atonal music harmony, constantly changing rhythmic and high variety of different musical expressions, playing styles and moods. Different moods, characters and other elements are masterfully combined together in one composition. The ability to put absolutely different music styles, episodes and musical language elements is demonstrated here. After vivacious, expressive and dynamic solos there comes silent and soft pieces. “Keyboard Studies” is based on minimalism elements. It has repetitive structure, monotonic rhythmic, simple tonal harmony and repetitive melodies. The short melodic elements are masterfully combined together with simple, but effective instrumentation, few musical expressions and monotonic rhythmic. All these elements make energetic, interesting and minimalistic sound. “Fandango on The Heaven Ladder” is also based on minimalistic music elements, but also has other music styles intonations. It has interesting harmony and rhtyhmic – after soft and simple tonal harmony chords there comes sharp and dissonance pitches which bring more dramatic and lyric sound to this composition. All compositions which are recorded in Disc 1, have interesting and energetic sound  – it’s “Smon’s Lullaby”, “Misha’s Bear Dance” and “Be Kind to One Another” which also are played in this set.

“Four Hands Terry Riley” compositions are recorded in Disc 2. The compositions for two pianos were played by Regina Myers and Sarah Cahill – it’s “Cinco de Mayo”, “Tango Doble Ladiado”, “Waltz for Charismas”, “Jazline” and “Etude from the Old Country”. Various elements of valse, tango and other dances, ragtime, traditional jazz styles intonations are gently mixed together with tonal harmony, expresionism and various modernism music elements. These compositons also have very expressive, unpredictable and interesting musical language and bright musical pattern. Vivacious, dynamic and bright episodes played in especially expressive and emotional way are connected with soft, dramatic and minimalistic pieces. These changes of mood and characters are highly effecting all compositions sound – makes it more surprising, unpredictable, energetic and evocative.

“Commissioned Works” compositions set is the 3rd Disc of this album. The compostions by other composers and dedicated for Terry Riley are recorded in this disc – it’s Danny Clay “Circle Songs”, Gyan Riley “Poppy Infinite”,  Samuel Adams “Shade Studies”, Christine Southworth “Sparkita and Her Kittens”,  Keeril Makan “Before C”,  Elena Ruehr “In C Too” and  Dylan Mattingly “Y E A R”. All these compositions were composed by talented and masterful composers. Each of them have bright, colorful and gorgeous sound. Wide range of various musical expressions, styles, different types of harmony chords are used in all these compositions. The elements from the most famous Terry Riley compositions such as “In C” or others  are masterfully combined with individual and unique each composers composing style, bright musical language and adventurous musical decisions. Various extended composing techniques – traditional ones and created by composers – are gently and organically twisted together. The synhtesis of all these elements make original and dynamic sound.

This album is a retrospective of Terry Riley music – it shows his talent, masterful and bright musical language, adventurous and bright musical decisions and own composing style. All compositions have interesting and surprising sound – all of them also has wide range of different colors, sounds, timbres and music styles elements effectively combined in one composition. Expressive, emotional and astonishing playing by three masterful pianists marvelously reveals and demonstrates unique, interesting and adventurous sound by 20th century academical music legend Terry Riley.

 

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