Terry Riley, 1983.
Cadenza on the Night Plain - I - Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector.

Richly textured and complexly rhythmic is the simplest and most precise way of describing the music of Terry Riley. His music is so much more than the genre "minimalism" suggests. As one of the driving forces behind the minimalistic movement he has inspired many composers including Phillip Glass, Steve Reich and John Adams.

Here in the opening movement of Cadenza on the Night Plain, Riley creates a wondrous dialogue between the four instruments of the quartet. The continual back and forth of the strings brings the refreshing air on a cool morning as the sun works its way up against the horizon. Slowly the new warmth works into the music much like the warming sun. What is remarkable is the amount of texture Riley is able to create with just four instruments. Often times string quartets fall flat, failing to sufficiently fill sonic space. Instead, he has created a depth by forcing the four instruments to play off of the sound of each other to eliminate silence. Cramming so much sound may make it difficult for a first time listener, but much like the quiet murmur of a morning outside, there is so much to experience and evaluate.

Selected recordings recommended for purchasing:
Kronos Quartet version available here.

Cover artwork for the Kronos Quartet release


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