Terry Riley's 'Dark Queen Mantra' now on CD
1st September 2017
Daniel Stephen Johnson, WQXR Q2
The premiere recording of Dark Queen Mantra was released by The Del Sol Quartet at the end of August. Del Sol commissioned Dark Queen Mantra from Terry Riley to celebrate the groundbreaking musical explorer's 80th birthday in 2015. Riley answered with a piece for Del Sol and Riley's son, guitarist Gyan Riley; they premiered and toured the work before recording it on the Sono Luminus label.
Its first movement is the sprightly Vizcaino, named for a Spanish hotel Riley frequented. Goya with Wings, movement two, reflects on the paintings of Francisco Goya. About the final movment, which shares its title with the complete work, Riley says simply, 'It gets dark'.
Also on the CD is his quartet The Wheel and Mythic Birds Waltz from 1983. Riley said that the birds he imagined in the piece came from Anagarika Govinda's account of Tibetan Buddhism, The Way of the White Clouds.