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Celestial Harmonies
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Die Titelkomposition, komponiert 1964, ist Rileys am häufigsten aufgeführtes Werk - die Minimal Music par excellence. Das Stück kann von jeder erdenklichen Besetzung gespielt werden und zwar in beliebiger Dauer (zwischen zehn Minuten und einem Jahr). Hier bringt das Shanghai Film Orchestra unter der Leitung von Wang Yongji eine „Kurzversion“ von knapp 30 Minuten. Die traditionellen chinesischen Instrumente klingen in der Minimalstruktur nach Gamelan. So bildet sich auf Umwegen eine Brücke zwischen China und Südostasien. Die beiden anderen Kompositionen sind nicht minimalistisch, sondern stärker von der melodischen chinesischen Klassik („Zen Of Water“) und spontanen Entwicklungen von Gongklängen („Music Of A Thousand Springs“, 1986) bestimmt. Riley goes China - muss man gehört haben!

the project

Terry Riley's In C, one of the most influential compositions of the past quarter century, has been played by almost every conceivable combination of instruments; however, the Shanghai Film Orchestra's version ranks as one of the most exciting and exotic interpretations. It marks the 25th anniversary of the piece, and represents the first time a Western new music piece has been recorded in China.

In C is a rhythmic, energetic work, but it also echoes the mystical, embroidered music of the Near East and India. By staying in or around the key of C, this 1964 work creates a model sound that can be seen as a forerunner of today's minimalist and world music styles.

The Shanghai Film Orchestra plays this contemporary Western work on traditional Chinese instruments. The tuning is different, and the tone colors of the ancient Chinese bells and strings lend a new vibrancy to the piece. The construction of this version is equally striking. Instead of following the score straight through, earlier parts are brought back and woven into a tapestry of sound even more mesmerizing than Riley's original recording.

The talented Chinese-American composer, David Mingyue Liang, contributes two works that extend the orchestra's range to include the ethereal sounds of bowed vibes and the haunting resonance of China's only complete set of mangluo gongs. This remarkable recording, the result of a cultural openness in China, proves that the East and West have much to say to each other.

the artist

Terry Riley is one of the founders of the contemporary musical style known as minimalism. Since 1969, he has studied Indian classical singing with the great Pandit Pran Nath and has taught Indian classical music at Mills College in Oakland. He was one of the first composers to experiment with tape delay and has recorded numerous works for the electric organ or synthesizer with tape, as well as a large piano work, The Harp of New Albion (14018). Most of these works are in alternative tuning systems. He has also written several works for the Kronos String Quartet.

David Mingyue Liang is a composer and a talented performer on a number of Chinese string instruments and has recorded with Paul Horn on the album China (11080).


1 In C 28'24"
2 Music of a Thousand Springs 23'47"
3 Zen (Ch'an) of Water 15'50"
  Total Time: 68'20"