RIYL: Richard Skelton, Julia Kent, Christina Vantzou

Label: AR Records

One of the most beautiful neo-classical releases of the last years.  The A-Side is solo cello played by Audrey Riley. On the b-side, she’s accompanied by James Woodrow;s guitar. The music is composed by Gavin Bryars, who is well known for one of my favorite classical pieces “Sinking of the Titanic.” Tre Laude Dolçe was self-released last year by Audrey Riley on her own label AR Records and there are some last vinyl copies left. If you like sad minimal classical music, you should definitively listen to this one and get a copy yourself.

Next release on AR Records will be a limited new 7″ from Audrey Riley with her brother Richard this summer.



The Details

Mastered by Don C Tyler and with artwork by Toby Cornish of Jutojo, Berlin. These original solo ’cello versions, with the addition of duo versions with guitar, and developed with Bryars’ approval, are entirely self–produced by Riley and Woodrow, with empathic assistance from Asa Bennett. Based on a decision to preserve recording to capture the moment of performance, Riley built a space in which to work, recording alone in three different sessions over a year. The recording captures moments in time, performance, careful consideration, the ensemble of two musicians playing together as breathing, the simple release of sound into air, and the beautiful and elusive nature of this composition by Gavin Bryars.

‘On June 1st 2007 I wrote the first of the Tre Laude Dolçe as a gift to my friend and colleague Audrey Riley to provide her with repertoire for a recital of unaccompanied cello music that she was to give in a little place called Trancoso in Portugal. It is, in essence, an instrumental version of my first vocal lauda, Venite a Laudare, following its form in outline. However I add a good deal of ornamentation and use the full range of the cello, especially its range of natural harmonics. Like the vocal lauda, Lauda Dolçe I consists of, essentially, a solo melodic line, but uses the string instrument’s capacity to add other notes for harmonic implication or decoration.

When Audrey let me know that the piece had worked well in context, a few days later, on June 7th and 8th, I wrote two more cello pieces, taking the remaining two of my first three laude as source material, but with the original third lauda as the second of the instrumental versions and ending with Lauda 2. In each case I brought in new elements. With Lauda Dolçe II this involved a degree of chromatic wandering away from the modal quality of the original, and in Lauda Dolçe III bringing the previously background pizzicato drone notes into greater prominence by using both right and left hand pizzicato at the beginning and end.

James and Audrey have worked together with me as the key performers
 of the music that I wrote for Merce Cunningham’s Biped (1999), which we performed right up to the end of the Cunningham Company’s existence in 2011. Now Audrey and James have brought this quality into the Laude Dolçe by creating duo versions of all three pieces. In these duo Laude Dolçe, the electric guitar is no longer just accompaniment but has become an equal partner – a strange hybrid bowed string instrument, and sometimes ensemble – thereby creating something that is almost orchestral in its richness and diversity and takes pieces that started out as simple melodic lines into a new dimension.'

Gavin Bryars
Billesdon, 29 December 2014

Price $28

Listen to Tre Laude Dolce (extracts) on Soundcloud

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