LABELS: Dorian Sono Luminus
ALBUM TITLE: Riley
WORKS: Etude from the Old Country; Jaztine; Tango Doble Ladiado; Half-Wolf Dances Mad in Moonlight; Simone’s Lullaby; G Song, etc
PERFORMER: Zofo (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: DSL-92189
Terry Riley, at 80, still wakes every morning to improvise at the piano. That creative freedom informs his keyboard output, which is continually morphing as he revises and rearranges pieces, as he has done here with Simone’s Lullaby, Etude from the Old Country and Jaztine.
Zofo (Eva-Maria Zimmermann and Keisuke Nakagoshi) have brought together a collection of his works for four hands, including the exuberant Cinco de Mayo and sections from The Heaven Ladder, and new arrangements of string quartet pieces, including G Song and Half-Wolf Dances Mad in Moonlight. The comparison with the Kronos recordings of these is not a happy one: lithe liveliness is replaced by prosaic heaviness and weirdly slow tempos. Who am I to argue if Riley says Zofo ‘are mesmerising in the vast scope of their musicality’? Recorded here in Pure Audio Blu-ray, there’s certainly a high polish, bassy richness and heft to the sound, but it’s often at the expense of more subtle voicing and balance: one longs for a less hard-edged touch. They achieve more depth and variety in the loping pianissimo sections of Cinco de Mayo, and find a pleasing fluency in the rhapsodic twists and turns of Jaztine. Helen Wallace