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Boomkat Product Review:
Enchanting recitals of Terry Riley’s two keyboard studies and ‘Dorian Reeds’, performed with hypnotic skill and attentiveness by AMM pianist John Tilbury
Wielding piano, organ, harpsichord and celeste, Tilbury deeply connects with the magic of Riley’s work in three durational archive recordings that now surface with Sheffield’s excellent experimental label, Another Timbre. Aside to his seminal ‘In C’, the two ‘Keyboard Studies’ are among the most peformed pieces in Riley’s canon of groundbreaking c.20th works. John Tilbury is one of the UK’s most renowned experimental pianists, perhaps most associated with Cornelius Cardew and the pioneering AMM ensemble, are hugely admired for his use of improvised and extended techniques.
Tilbury’s two performances of ‘Keyboard Studies’ are just staggering examples of technical prowess at the service of hauntingly beautiful music, yielding a swaying mass of crystal clear arpeggios in the 18 mins of ‘Keyboard Study #1’ before really taking off in ‘Keyboard Study #2’ with 30 mins of endless soaring flight likely to leave listeners with quivering flesh as it proceeds thru stages of harmonic bliss. His take on ‘Dorian Reeds’, originally the B-side to Terry Riley’s ‘Reed Music’ (1967), follows with iridescent cascade of synthesised reeds piped quicker than the eye can follow and wrapping us into a quieter sort of rapture that’s got us by a thread right now.