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
Available here: iTunes
New Albion Records, Inc.