|TERRY RILEY AND KRONOS QUARTET
Requiem for Adam
· Riley and Kronos meet again, resolving grief through music.
This new CD elaborates on the special relationship between Terry Riley and Kronos Quartet. Kronos formed in 1973 and has worked with Riley for 20 years. Their collaboration has resulted in 12 string quartets, a piano quintet, and a concerto for string quartet and orchestra. Another Riley piece for Kronos, commissioned by NASA and using sounds recorded in space by the Voyager mission, will première in 2002.
Requiem for Adam is the fourth Kronos album devoted to Riley's music the previous was the successful Salome Dances for Peace (1989). Harrington is Kronos' front man and first violin, and this new composition is a memorial to Harrington's 16-year-old son, who died suddenly while hiking. Riley wrote the quartet as a personal statement to resolve sadness. In the liner notes, he writes, "someone told me that when you lose a person close to you the best thing is to put something in that person's place, to make an affirmation that life goes on."
Requiem is an important and moving piece. The opening movement is soothing, quiet and slow, with swirling repetitions characteristic of Riley, the radical progenitor of minimalism. The second movement starts with the jarring crash of strings and recorded sound. Many Kronos commissions use recordings, and here they play with a forceful musical soundtrack of horns, bells, electronic percussion and gongs. The third movement returns to the strings alone with an unsettling pulse it ends drifting.
With such a large body of work behind them, Kronos occasionally lacks depth and significance. This is not the case for Requiem, as Riley interprets life and death through music.