Terry Riley
The Book of Abbeyozzud

Works for Guitar, plus accompaniment

David Tanenbaum, guitar; with Gyan Riley, guitar; Tracy Silverman, violin; William Winant, percussion


Guitar? We think of Riley as a keyboard man just as we think of Glass and many another minimalists. Reading the composer's notes, though, the impression is that these pieces are more in fealty to the traditions of Spanish music than the guitar per se. Either way, the music sounds much as you would anticipate: American chamber with Jelly Roll Morton's beloved 'Spanish tinge', the Eastern modes which Riley sets his stars by, and that unique pragmatism which [Glenn] Gould suggested was manifest as music which 'requires instructions rather than instruction'.

--The Wire, October 1999


The Book of Abbeyozzud (say "ah-BYE-ah-ZOOD", a word invented by Riley, without meaning) is a planned series of 26 pieces for guitar, multiple guitars and guitar in ensemble. So far, thirteen pieces are completed. Riley writes "All of the pieces have Spanish titles and take a different letter of the alphabet to begin their names. They are also indebted to great Spanish music traditions and to those traditions upon which Spanish music owes its heritage."

David Tanenbaum had been asking Terry Riley for a guitar piece for some time, and found success finally after Terry's young son, Gyan, began studying classical guitar and brought its world into the Riley home. David Tanenbaum commissioned the first piece, "Ascención," through Albert Augustine Ltd., and through the editing and performance process of that piece the idea for the book was born.


Some of Riley's most melodious compositions yet and his first written for the guitar ... make for one of Riley's most approachable albums; in particular, the mellifluous 'Cantos Desiertos' should be a public radio staple.

--Billboard, November 20, 1999


Track List

for Violin and Guitar
Cantos Desiertos
1. Francesco en Paraiso 5:02
2. Cancion Desierto 6:27
3. Quijote 4:30
4. Llanto 4:32
5. Tango Ladeado 3:20

for Two Guitars
6. Zamorra 9:46

for Percussion and Guitar
Dias de los Muertos (1995)
7. Innocencia - Se Aparace la Muerte Inocentmente por la tarde 7:27
8. La Muerte en Medias Caladas Negras 6:03

for Solo Guitar
9. Barabas 4:48
10. Ascención 13:35

Total: 66:09


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