Boomkat Product Review:
As with his most celebrated composition, In C, Terry Riley's Olson III was constructed around the principle that each player should go through a series of short musical motifs, repeating each one several times before moving on to the next. In this instance Riley mucks in with the troops, playing soprano sax rather than conducting the performance as might be conventional. The Swedish orchestra were consequently forced to listen to one another rather than follow instructions, and this lack of a conventional leader destabiiises what's already a potentially chaotic formula. The fact that so much of this music is comprised from very brief, repeated phrases means there's a machine-like, looping quality to the orchestra's performance, but clearly it's a physically taxing piece to pull off, and there are times when you can hear the ensemble's precision wavering a little before ultimately pulling back together again. By the final few minutes the music feels like the last leg of a long-distance run, and after nearly an hour a final concentration of focus hurtles the composition towards the finish line in triumphant fashion.