Albums

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Minimal Music - Released February 23, 2014 | Sub rosa

Charlemagne Palestine's From Etudes to Cataclysms, issued on the Sub Rosa label, is composed and performed on a highly unusual instrument: the Doppio Borgato. It is a modern descendant of the nineteenth century Pédalier or Pedalflügel, a piano with pedal board fancied by organists as an instrument on which to practice. Composers such as Robert Schumann and Charles-Valentin Alkan were so fond of this instrument that they wrote special compositions for it. The Doppio Borgato has 37 pedals and is far more generous in design and capabilities than the Pédalier of old, and on From Etudes to Cataclysms, Charlemagne Palestine takes advantage of such capabilities. The extreme minimalism of Palestine's compositional style might impress some listeners as not making quite enough of the Doppio Borgato. Listening to From Etudes to Cataclysms requires extreme patience, as much of it consists of long stretches of music that are no more than two notes, or two chords, rapidly played in succession. Of course, the point is not what is being played on the pedals themselves but the beating in the air of the repeated notes being sounded for such a long time. Most of us who listen to piano music associate it with the fingers and the fingerboard, and moving past that into concentrating on pure vibration generated with such minimal resources at hand for so long a time might be seen by some as a kind of masochism. However, listeners who don't need to perceive forward movement in music, or rather who respond positively to such challenges as these, then Palestine's From Etudes to Cataclysms might well prove rewarding. Certainly, Sub Rosa's recording is excellent; capturing every little beat in the air in addition to rendering what is played from the keyboard.
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Minimal Music - Released January 13, 2012 | Sony Classical

$25.49

Minimal Music - Released January 6, 2012 | Sony Classical

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Minimal Music - Released September 1, 2010 | Sub rosa

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Minimal Music - Released September 29, 2003 | Sony Classical

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Minimal Music - Released January 21, 1993 | Sony Classical

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Minimal Music - Released August 22, 1989 | Sony Classical

Distinctions Stereophile: Record To Die For
Mention "minimalism" and certain names will pop up, both within and outside of the classical world: Terry Riley, Steve Reich, John Adams. The most famous one, however, would be Philip Glass. Unlike most 20th Century composers, Glass has reached far beyond the concert hall: his work includes film soundtracks (THE TRUMAN SHOW, THE THIN BLUE LINE), multimedia presentations ('1000 Airplanes on the Roof"), and collaborations with pop/rock writers/performers (his SONGS FOR LIQUID DAYS album). With SOLO PIANO, Glass presents himself "unplugged" - no electronic keyboards or synthesizers, and no overdubs, either - just solo piano. Here, Glass' connection to the established "classical" tradition is most evident. Though his pieces are "minimal" (subtly altered repeated patterns or melodic motifs), yet they have an unsentimental beauty and heartfelt grace that one would hear in J.S. Bach's English Suites, as well as the piano music of Chopin and Erik Satie. Portions of the suite 'Metamorphosis' are based on Glass' score for THE THIN BLUE LINE; these short pieces are forlornly entrancing without being drippy or "trance-like." The finale, 'Wichita Sutra Vortex,' is a uniquely and quintessentially "American" piece. It draws upon gospel music in the same way Ives and Copland drew from the well of American folk tunes, but where those composers worked in ironic portions or references to the tunes, Glass absorbs the deep feeling and tones of gospel, without recalling any particular song. Both Glass fans and minimalist neophytes should hear this.
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Minimal Music - Released August 22, 1989 | Sony Classical

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Minimal Music - Released March 15, 1988 | Sony Classical

After several graph compositions and early pattern pieces with jazz ensembles in the late '50s and early '60s (see "Concert for Two Pianists and Tape Recorders" and "Ear Piece" in La Monte Young's book An Anthology), Riley invented a whole new music which has since gone under many names (minimal music -- a category often applied to sustained pieces as well -- pattern music, phase music, etc.) which is set forth in its purest form in the famous "In C" (1964) (for saxophone and ensemble, CBS MK 7178). "Rainbow in Curved Air" demonstrates the straightforward pattern technique but also has Riley improvising with the patterns, making gorgeous timbre changes on the synthesizers and organs, and presenting contrasting sections that has become the basic structuring of his works ("Candenza on the Night Plain" and other pieces). Scored for large orchestra with extra percussion and electronics, some of this work's seven movements are: "Star Night," "Blue Lotus," "The Earth Below," and "Island of the Rhumba King." ~ "Blue" Gene Tyranny
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Minimal Music - Released March 8, 1988 | Sony Classical

Riley's place in the minimalism camp of modern classical music has been secured ever since his '60s debut. His career eventually found its zenith with such milestones as 1964's In C and 1969's A Rainbow in Curved Air. Riley's use of cyclical and repetitive patterns brought comparisons to fellow minimalist Steve Reich during this time, too. Having since delved deeply into Indian music by way of several years of study with the master singer Pandit Pran Nath, Riley found a fine middle ground for his classical/minimalist training and the music of India on this 1980 release. With a specialized Yamaha keyboard and a 16-track studio as his tools, Riley creates four instrumental longplayers here, all sporting a mix of Far-Eastern atmospherics and minimalist explorations. Meditative yet quite provocative, Riley's Shri Camel will definitely please his longtime fans. ~ Stephen Cook