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Daniel Lentz's River of 1,000 Streams is a complex, slowly growing, densely textural piece for solo piano and up to 11 layers of “cascading echoes” (which are created in a live performance via a computer running a MAX patch). Each of the piece’s hundreds of “echoes” is a short moment (generally one to a few bars in length) of the piano solo that may reappear anywhere from a half-second to 25 minutes after the pianist first plays it. Floating sparsely amid the piece’s rich primary texture of tremolos, and appearing quietly, spectrally, are short moments of a more melodic, or less textural, nature.
This work, “conceived one early morning on the banks of the Yellowstone River” (Lentz), is more purely textural than most of Lentz’s recent work. Yet, like so much of his work over the past 40-plus years, its structure is that of a complex, almost kaleidoscopically woven tapestry of new and recurring fragments of music.
“Bach did it in his C major prelude to the WTC Bk 1. Beethoven did it in his Moonlight Sonata Mvt 1. Now Daniel Lentz is taking a modern-day stab. He sets up a series of tremolo piano chords (I’m hearing bits from the ‘Dresden Amen’). These repeat in odd ways. River of 1,000 Streams is written for piano with ‘cascading echoes.’ By ‘cascading echoes’ Lentz means that a laptop runs a patch of the piano’s tremolos in real time. It gives the 30-minute piece a nice shimmer…. Vicki Ray is now the official tremolo queen for Cold Blue. She’s premiered Adams, Subotnick, Chasalow, Hartke and others. She’s big with Bang on a Can. She’s recorded Feldman’s Crippled Symmetries (beautifully I might add) and Reich’s You Are (Variations).” —Andrew Violette, New Music Connoisseur