fri 20/10/2017

Terry Riley Celebration, St George's Bristol & Bristol Old Vic | reviews, news & interviews

Terry Riley Celebration, St George's Bristol & Bristol Old Vic

Terry Riley Celebration, St George's Bristol & Bristol Old Vic

The minimalist pioneer attracts Portishead, Goldfrapp and classical musicians

Terry Riley, the ur-minimalist who shaped the creative paths of John Adams, Peter Townshend, Mike Oldfield and Philip Glassterryriley.net

Terry Riley is one of the great unsung heroes of contemporary music, the ur-minimalist who shaped the creative paths of John Adams, Peter Townshend, Mike Oldfield and Philip Glass, to name just a sample of the wide range of musicians who have been inspired by his raga-tinged loops and all-enveloping electronic soundscapes. This week Bristol has hosted a series of exciting concerts celebrating the 75-year-old Californian composer, whose groundbreaking genius feels as fresh today as it first sounded in the 1960s.

Portishead's Adrian Utley led a 20-guitar orchestra in a stunning rendition of his masterpiece, In C

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A very interesting review, though I'm not sure what was meant by 'the soundtrack for the years in which people first imagined the end of history'. A tantalysing concept. Am I missing something?

Hi Derek Thanks for commenting on the piece. I was probably too allusive in my suggestion that Riley made a soundtrack for the years in which people first imagined the end of history. Let me unpick it: I think something happened - possibly after the first atom bombs, but who knows how cultures / paradigms shift. The idea of 'progress;, fundamental to Marxism, Christianity, capitalism and aspects of what we know as the Enlightnment - began to lose its appeal. When I wrote about 'imagining' the end of history, I guess ( to use academic language) the narrative was changing. My other guess / intuition, for what it's worth, is that music,painting (Pollock), theatre (Beckett!) got more into something that focused on the lack of 'teleological' development. So if Riley's music "goes nowhere" as I wrote, then this might reflect the idea that the culurre sees itself as going nowhere too. I don't believe the world gets better. And not worse either...enough for now!

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