In honor of groundbreaking American composer Terry Riley’s 80th birthday, Nonesuch Records releases One Earth, One People, One Love: Kronos Plays Terry Riley—a five-disc box set of four albums of his work composed for, and performed by, his longtime friends and champions Kronos Quartet—on June 23, 2015, in North America and July 10 for the rest of the world. Riley and Kronos met more than 35 years ago, and since then, the quartet has commissioned 27 works from him, more than from any other composer in the group’s history.
The One Earth, One People, One Love set includes three albums previously released by Nonesuch—the two-disc album Salome Dances for Peace (1989), Requiem for Adam (2001), and The Cusp of Magic (2008)—as well as a new disc called Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector: Music of Terry Riley. Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector includes a new recording of the title piece, which was Riley’s first for Kronos, as well as previously unreleased recordings of Lacrymosa – Remembering Kevin and One Earth, One People, One Love from Sun Rings; Cry of a Lady (originally released on A Thousand Thoughts); and G Song and Cadenza on the Night Plain (both originally released on 25 Years). Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector also is available for individual purchase.
Kronos’ violinist, founder, and artistic director David Harrington says of the Quartet’s remarkably fruitful relationship with Terry Riley, which began in the late 1970s at Mills College in Oakland, California: “There is no other composer who has added so many new musical words to our vocabulary, words from so many corners of the musical world. Terry introduced Kronos to Pandit Pran Nath, Zakir Hussain, Bruce Connor, La Monte Young, Anna Halprin, Hamza El Din, Jon Hassell, and Gil Evans.” He continues, “In a crazed world laced with violence and destruction he has consistently been a force for peace. Through his gentle leadership a path forward has emerged. Terry sets the standard for what it means to be a musician in our time.”
Riley says of his 35 years of working with Kronos: “Each of our projects together was launched by conversations with both David and me riffing on ideas. I always came away from these planning sessions feeling exhilarated, and these energies would soon get my pen moving toward a melody or a rhythmic pattern—or, in the case of Salome Dances for Peace, a five-quartet cycle. David has this gift, a unique catalytic effect on so many collaborators. Because of this gift, we have this astounding body of work created for Kronos over the past four decades.”
Composer and performer Terry Riley is one of the founders of music’s Minimalist movement. His early works, notably In C (1964), pioneered a form in Western music based on structured interlocking repetitive patterns. The influence of Riley’s hypnotic, multi-layered, polymetric, brightly orchestrated Eastern-flavored improvisations and compositions is heard across the span of contemporary and popular music.