The Sarabite: Towards an Aesthetic Christianity

There is a continuous attraction, beginning with God, going to the world, and ending at last with God, an attraction which returns to the same place where it began as though in a kind of circle. -Marsilio Ficino

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Yes....


......I Do Write This Blog From Berkeley

I want to introduce my readers to the work of the composer Terry Riley. I first saw Mr. Riley at the Chapel of the Chimes down the street in north Oakland way back in 1996. I didn't know it was him until I was standing a few feet away from him and realized he was holding an envelope with the name, "Terry Riley" on it. I had already listened to his seminal work, In C, which can be obtained in a multiple number of recordings. I then saw him live giving a solo piano performance here in Berkeley back in 1999.

Aside from In C, the other much more interesting piece that I would recommend is Shri Camel, a daring work for electronic organ and tape delay (you don't have to be high when you listen to it, but it helps). An underestimated work by this godfather of minimalism is June Buddhas, based the poetry of Jack Kerouac, with an imposing beginning for chorus:

"Great God Almighty
What's to be done?
O what's to be done?
Sings the majestic keener
and moaner
At the Mexican Funeral Home-"

Mexico City Blues
224th Chorus

This is perhaps one of the greatest works for orchestra in the last fifty years.

For those not willing to waste money on the crazy suggestions of a sociopath eccentric, you can listen to many samples of Riley's work on his website where you can hear portions of his album Atlantis Nath from which the above picture was taken, and also listen to a live concert that Riley gave by following this link. The Morning Raga is to be highly recommended, since Riley studied for years under the classical Indian vocalist, Pandit Pran Nath. You can also watch a video of Terry Riley by going here.

P.S. I don't do drugs. Really.

5 Comments:

At 9:16 AM, Blogger Matt said...

If you listen to Terry Riley, you don't really need drugs. The music approximates the experience, viz. Persian Surgery Dervishes.

 
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