Music » Critics' Picks

Bang on a Can with Terry Riley and Philip Glass

Sunday, May 2; the Edison Theater


Where to begin when announcing such an embarrassment of riches? Each impressive on its own, together a profusion of talent: Terry Riley, who lit the fuse of American minimalism with his seminal In C; Philip Glass, among the most innovative and influential composers of the twentieth century; Bang on a Can -- part classical, part rock, part jazz, mostly something else -- dedicated to breaking down the stale divisions between such factions.

The Bang on a Can All-Stars are a relatively stable ensemble whose performances are famously extravagant, which should make for an interesting collision/collusion with these minimalist masters. Everyone involved shares a drive to invent complemented by a playful irrepressibility. These folks just won't stop playing. Together they are offering a very few performances, and even fewer in the Midwest. Their performance Sunday night will feature In C, which involves 53 interlocking motifs to be performed in succession for an undetermined duration. While an evening of minimalist music may not ordinarily get you too excited, this one should. The All-Stars' 2001 recording of Riley's composition redefines it for a new century and brings a reflective agitation that feels simultaneously hyped and haunting.

Serious music, yes, but hardly academic. Instead the evening will bend preconceptions, leaving listeners to carry its blissful rhythms into their weeks.

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