Dark Queen Mantra

Dark Queen Mantra


Artists: Del Sol String Quartet, Gyan Riley (guitar)

Composers: Terry Riley, Stefano Scodanibbio

Format: 1 CD


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For the Del Sol Quartet, this album is a culmination—and also the start of an ongoing musical journey. Terry Riley doesn’t limit his music within a final double-bar but allows it to keep on growing—he’s already composed more music for us to play together. As a quartet, we’ve found new energy and growth through the experience of performing Terry’s quartets off-book, by memory. As musicians, we’ve found an inspiring example—Terry has the strength to follow his own path balanced with the humility and curiosity of an eternal student. For our 25th anniversary festival, we are focusing on Terry’s music and honored that Terry and Gyan will be joining us.

Like so many worthwhile endeavors, this album began with a friendship. Del Sol violist Charlton Lee first met guitarist Gyan while playing in an ensemble led by the composer/bassist Gavin Bryars. “I’d been wanting to find more opportunities to play with Gyan ever since we met,” Charlton explains. “And with Terry’s 80th birthday on the horizon it seemed a perfect time to commission a new piece for all of us to play together.”

For the other dimension of this album, we had long been aware of Stefano Scodanibbio’s awesome abilities as a trailblazing double-bass virtuoso, we had our first chance to perform his music thanks to Gyan. Gyan curated a memorial concert celebrating Stefano’s music at The Stone in New York City and invited us to participate. 

Del Sol String Quartet Hailed by Gramophone as “masters of all musical things they survey” and two-time winner of the top Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, the Del Sol String Quartet shares living music with an ever-growing community of adventurous listeners.

Recognized as a “vigorous champion of living composers,” Del Sol has premiered well over 100 works through its extensive commissioning and innovative performances. The composers represent a diverse range of contemporary voices, including Terry Riley, Mason Bates, Frederic Rzewski, Ben Johnston, Gabriela Lena Frank, Chinary Ung, Tania León, Ken Ueno, Peter Sculthorpe, Reza Vali, Mohammed Fairouz and Per Nørgård. 

Gyan Riley Guitarist Gyan Riley’s diverse work now focuses on his own compositions, improvisation, and contemporary classical repertoire. Gyan has been commissioned by the Kronos Quartet, New Music USA, the Carnegie Hall Corporation, the American Composers Forum, and the New York Guitar Festival. He has performed with Zakir Hussain, Lou Reed, John Zorn, the Kronos Quartet, Iva Bittova, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, the San Francisco Symphony, the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, and his father, the composer/pianist/vocalist Terry Riley.

Terry Riley Composer and performer Terry Riley is one of the founders of music’s minimalist movement. His early works, notably “In C,” pioneered a form in Western music based on structured interlocking repetitive patterns. The influence of Riley’s hypnotic, multilayered, polymetric, brightly orchestrated Eastern-flavored improvisations and compositions is heard across the span of contemporary and popular music.

Stefano Scodanibbio Stefano Scodanibbio was a brilliant inventor of new musical possibilities, virtuoso performer, and phenomenal improviser. He came to prominence in the 1980s, premiering solo contrabass works by Brian Ferneyhough, Iannis Xenakis, Salvatore Sciarrino, Giacinto Scelsi, Gerard Grisey and others. His bass technique was so inventive that Luigi Nono used the indication “arco mobile à la Stefano Scodanibbio” in the score of Prometeo. He composed over fifty works, principally for strings.

Track List

Terry Riley
Dark Queen Mantra    
1. I. Vizcaino    5:44
2. II. Goya with Wings    8:06
3. III. Dark Queen Mantra    11:50
      With Gyan Riley, guitar

Stefano Scodanibbio
Mas Lugares (su Madrigali di Monteverdi)    
4. I. Allegro    3:53
5. II. Io mi son giovinetta    3:24
6. III. Largo    3:57
7. IV. Quell’augellin, che canta    3:25
8. V. Che se tu se’ ‘l cor mio    6:06

Terry Riley
9. The Wheel & Mythic Birds Waltz    15:59

Total time: 62:20
Release date: August 25, 2017
UPC: 053479221520

Quotes & Reviews

…a splendid, if challenging, disc.

Guy Rickards, Gramophone

…caps off a truly fantastic album. Take my word and pre-order the thing!

Jeremy Shatan, AnEarful

It is possible that someone, somewhere has listened to an assortment of recent works by Terry Riley and not been utterly charmed, but it is best not to imagine what life must be like for such a person. Now 82 years old, Riley knocked the course of music history sideways with the highly repetitive, process-driven, open-form piece In C in 1964, but he has refused to repeat himself, instead producing a varied catalog of compositions in which the only constants are propulsive syncopation, a richness of ornamental detail, and melody.

Daniel Stephen Johnson, WQXR

A substantial new chamber work…

Matthew Gurewitsch, Beyond Criticism

…there is much to be gained from beginning-to-end listening where this album is concerned; and the combination of the keen ears of the Del Sol players and the engineering skills in the recording studio make that listening experience a highly satisfying one.

Stephen Smoliar, The Rehearsal Studio

When we weigh all three works on this CD program we come away satisfied that some important post-minimalist music has reached our listening selves in enlightening and pleasurable ways.

Grego Edwards, Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

For its sound and its compositional and performance content this is one of the finest discs to come across this reviewer’s desk and it is a beautiful homage to Riley (father and son), the Del Sol Quartet, the Kronos Quartet and to the late Stefano Scodanibbio.  This is a gorgeous and deeply satisfying album.  Kudos to all.

Allan Cronin, New Music Buff

…striking beauty and clarity.

Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

Expect elegance, fluency and delicate shading rather than cliches of passion and fire.

Julian Cowley, The Wire

Lush, cyclical, and exotic…

Pat Moran, Strings

Minimalism has come a long way in these focused performances.

David Kettle, The Strad

…wonderful new release…

Ron Schepper, Textura

…instant classic…

Jeremy Shatan, AnEarful

Best Chamber Recording 2017

…superlatively performed…

Christian Carey, Sequenza 21

Interesting and attractive recording…

Joan Carles Abelenda, Sonograma Magazine

Masters of all musical things they survey
— Gramophone Magazine

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