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Zofo Plays Terry Riley - Buffalo News review

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"Zofo Plays Terry Riley" (Sono Luminus, disc plus Blue Ray). Terry Riley will be 80 at the end of June. Though Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Michael Nyman and early John Adams are what the classical music public usually thinks of as "minimalism" in music, it is, perhaps, Terry Riley, more than anyone who was the precursor of them all with his '60s music along with La Monte Young. And it is, among the least-known triumphs of Buffalo musical life, that Buffalo figured crucially in Riley's most influential work. On Dec. 19, 1967, Buffalo Creative Associates played Riley's "In C" in Carnegie Hall and recorded it subsequently for Columbia. It is that record which had a huge influence on Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon" and on the Who in, for instance, "Baba O'Riley." Here all these years later is one of the finest Riley discs in a very long time – the 20-fingered single piano duo Zofo playing a truly gorgeous program of Riley's music. "Zofo" we're told is "shorthand for 20-finger orchestra" – in other words pianists Eva-Maria Zimmermann and Keisuke Nakagoshi playing duets on a single piano keyboard. While Riley's influence remains immense, recordings of his vast catalogue of music are only recently getting to a point closer to its reputation. This is beautiful music and very different from both "In C" and the more familiar monomanias of Reich's and Glass' music. Zimmermann claims that Riley's "music talks to me in away that I only have experienced with Schubert and Brahms or Brent Sorensen, the Danish composer. I feel a deep connection to his music. Preparing for this album, these pieces became the soundtrack of my life." An 80th birtday present for Riley and the rest of us. 3 1/2 stars (Jeff Simon)