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at193    Terry Riley  ‘Keyboard Studies’  played by John Tilbury


Archive recordings of three keyboard works from the 1960’s, composed by Terry Riley and performed by John Tilbury


1 Keyboard Study No.1   (1964)   piano               Youtube extract  

2 Keyboard Study No.2   (1965)   electric organ, piano, harpsichord & celeste

3 Dorian Reeds   (1964/5)    electric organ


Recorded in Hamburg, some time between 1975 and 1995 - details forgotten


Terry Riley and John Tilbury are both giants of experimental music. They were friends from the late 1960’s onwards, and John has performed Terry’s Keyboard Studies several times in concert, as well as recording them for BBC Radio in 1971.


However, the recordings on the CD are not the BBC recordings.  In fact John can’t remember exactly when the recordings were made, though he thinks they took place in Hamburg, Germany, probably about 30 years ago. He can’t recall the details, except that everything was recorded in one day - which was quite a feat given the amount of over-dubbing in Keyboard Study No.2.


What is clear is that John was at the height of his considerable powers at the time the recordings were made.


Aside from the legendary ‘In C’, the Keyboard Studies are probably the most frequently performed of Terry Riley’s works. Written almost 60 years ago, virtually at the same time as ‘In C’, the Keyboard Studies are like  short sketches for the performer to develop. At the time Terry was developing a semi-improvisational practice as a young keyboard player in San Francisco, and it is his music from this era which shot him to prominence in the late 1960’s. He has continued to work as both a performer and composer, and has had a particularly close relationship with the Kronos Quartet, writing many works for them, and for his son, the guitarist Gyan Riley.


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