Tag Archives: In C

New Music’s next wave

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Remixer Dennis DeSantis, in the shadows, left, with the Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble at (Le) Poison Rouge. (Photos copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

I saw and heard the future of New Music on Sunday night, and I am happy to report the future is bright.

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A saxophone solo opens the performance of "In C."

The Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble, which burst onto the scene with its fabulous 2007 performance (and followup recording) of Steve Reich‘s “Music for 18 Musicians”, filled (Le) Poisson Rouge last Sunday night with the sounds of another 20th Century classic — Terry Riley‘s “In C.”

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Radio Lab host Jad Abumrad was master of ceremonies.

Riley’s piece is more of a challenge than Reich’s because it is less structured, more mutable and highly shaped by the musical personality of the performers. The 15 talented players in GVSUNME — most of them students — played an engaging version that they made their own with the use of electronics and flourishes like a saxophone solo  to open the performance.

Sunday’s concert was a celebration of the release of In C Remixed, GVSUNME’s double-CD recording of In C and 18 remixes by 16 artists. The ensemble’s recording of “In C” clocks in at just over 20 minutes. For Sunday’s concert, the group played for about an hour. That’s the other major variable of the piece — it’s written in such a way that it can be as long or short, within certain limits, as the players want it to be.

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In C Remixed

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If you’re lucky enough to be in New York City next Sunday, don’t miss out on an amazing opportunity to witness a live performance of one of the 20th Century’s defining pieces of music, Terry Riley‘s In C.

The Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble is bringing its version of In C to the stage at (Le) Poisson Rouge on Nov. 8 to celebrate the release of its fantastic new recording, In C Remixed.

The GVSU ensemble obviously can’t reproduce the album — which features the recording of the title piece and 18 remixes by some of today’s best sonic manipulators — in a concert setting. But the show will feature live remixing by composer and sound designer Dennis DeSantis (one of the album’s remixers), videos by album remixer R. Luke DuBois, and an opening set by the Slow Boys (comprising digital violin genius Todd Reynolds and bass clarinetist and composer Michael Lowenstern, who also contributed remixes).

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Terry Riley

This is a show that requires homework, albeit very pleasant homework. Here’s your assignment:

Before the show — best to do it now — download In C Remixed from your favorite digital music source. (It’s available now at Amazon.com and on iTunes. If you want a physical CD, you’ll have to wait until Nov. 17.)

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In C turns 45 — and the party’s tonight!

Terry Riley

Terry Riley

In C changed musical history. Composer Terry Riley so influenced The Who’s Pete Townsend so deeply that he titled his highly experimental rock classic Baba O’Riley came from a mashup of the names of Riley and Indian mystic Meher Baba.

Riley’s heavily-improvised work had a profound impact not just on Townsend, but on a generation of musicians including John Adams, Morton Subotnick, Philip Glass and Steve Reich.

At 8 tonight, Riley celebrates the work’s 45th anniversary at Carnegie Hall in a performance the brings together the original performers and a host of guests — including Kronos Quartet, rocker Dan Zanes, and One Ring Zero co-conspirator Michael Hearst. Some tickets are still available. Click here for more information.

Riley, who is 73 years old, remains quite active performing and composing. But tonight’s show will be a rare opportunity to hear In C performed by the musicians who were there at the beginning along with many whose lives were changed by the piece.