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Riley: The Harp of New Albion

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Album Review

The Harp of New Albion is hypnotic piano recording conceived and performed by minimalist composer Terry Riley. The inspiration for this is the myth of the legendary harp, left behind in 1579 on the shores of Nova Albion, later known as the San Francisco Bay. As the fable goes, a Native American medicine man found the instrument and placed it on a cliff, where winds played it. Riley adapted ten movements for The Harp of New Albion to a specially tuned piano on which he improvises each movement. Harmonics drift and float around repetitious phrases, creating an almost orchestral sound which is very similar to the effects created by La Monte Young on his Well Tuned Piano. The Bösendorfer grand piano resonates through the Academy of Music in Munich, Germany, where this majestic performance was captured. Released as a double-CD set, this recording makes for a startling introduction to the work of one of America's most renowned and influential minimalist composers.

Biography

Born: 24 June 1935 in Colfax, CA

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Minimalist pioneer Terry Riley was among the most revolutionary composers of the postwar era; famed for his introduction of repetition into Western music motifs, he also masterminded early experiments in tape loops and delay systems which left an indelible mark on the experimental music produced in his wake. Riley was born June 24, 1935 in Colfax, California, and began performing professionally as a solo pianist during the '50s; by the middle of the decade, he was studying composition in San Francisco...
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