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Sono Luminus Releases Terry Riley's Dark Queen Mantra for Del Sol Quartet and Gyan Riley

Sono Luminus announces the August 25, 2017 worldwide release of Dark Queen Mantra, a new recording from Del Sol String Quartet featuring new music by Terry Riley and Stefano Scodanibbio. The album includes Terry Riley's Dark Queen Mantra (2015) written for Del Sol and Terry Riley's son, guitarist Gyan Riley; Mas Lugares (su Madrigali di Monteverdi) by Stefano Scodanibbio (2003); and Terry Riley's The Wheel & Mythic Birds Waltz from 1983. Music from the album will be performed by Del Sol, Gyan Riley, and Terry Riley during Del Sol's Whole Sol Festival, a three-night celebration of the quartet's 25th anniversary at the San Francisco War Memorial from November 16-18, 2017.

Like many worthwhile endeavors, Dark Queen Mantra began with a friendship. Del Sol violist Charlton Lee first met guitarist Gyan Riley while playing in an ensemble led by the composer/bassist Gavin Bryars. "I'd been wanting to find more opportunities to play with Gyan ever since we met," Charlton explains. "And with Terry's 80th birthday on the horizon it seemed a perfect time to commission a new piece for all of us to play together." The quartet had its first chance to play the music of Stefano Scodanibbio thanks to Gyan Riley, who curated a memorial concert celebrating Scodanibbio's music at The Stone in New York and invited Del Sol to participate. An avant-garde double bassist, Scodanibbio was also a collaborator of Terry Riley, notably on diamond fiddle language, and so Del Sol pairs his music with Riley's on this album.

Dark Queen Mantra was commissioned for Del Sol String Quartet and guitarist Gyan Riley to mark Terry Riley's 80th birthday year in 2015. The piece begins brightly with "Vizcaino," named for the hotel in Algeciras where Riley first stayed on arrival in Spain. The distinctively Spanish opening motive plays with shifting groupings and irregular accents. Riley began writing the second movement, "Goya with Wings," with Francisco Goya's paintings in mind. The final movement, "Dark Queen Mantra," explores a heavier and more insistent groove. As Riley put it, "it gets dark."

Stefano Scodanibbio's Mas Lugares (su Madrigali di Monteverdi) refracts Monteverdi through the lens of bassist/composer Scodanibbio's prodigious timbral imagination. The piece is dedicated to Luciano Berio, another master of transcription and re-invention of music of the past.

In his The Wheel & Mythic Birds Waltz, Terry Riley views an Indian tabla rhythm through a kaleidoscope of possibilities, gently shifting the meter to set it dancing in new ways. Sometimes the music surges forward with sweeping melodies, sometimes it lingers looping in eddies. In a pre-concert talk with Del Sol Quartet in Camptonville, California, Riley revealed that the birds he imagined in the piece came from Anagarika Govinda's account of Tibetan Buddhism, The Way of the White Clouds. He had been reading the book and wanted to give the birds a dance to do.

Founded in 1992, over the last 25 years the Grammy-nominated Del Sol String Quartet has shared living music with an ever-growing community of adventurous listeners. Del Sol's programming explores narratives and cultures from around the world, reflecting the stories and sounds of the Pacific Rim as vibrantly as those heard in European concert halls or East Coast art spaces. The ensemble has commissioned and premiered over 100 works from a diverse range of international composers, including Terry Riley, Mason Bates, Gabriela Lena Frank, Chinary Ung, Mohammed Fairouz, Tania León, Ken Ueno, Peter Sculthorpe, Reza Vali, and Per Nørgård. Based in San Francisco, the ensemble is a leading force in 21st century chamber music - whether introducing Ben Johnston's microtonal Americana at the Library of Congress, exploring Andean soundscapes with Gabriela Lena Frank and traditional musicians, deconstructing Ruth Crawford's radical experimental processes with East Bay schoolchildren, or rocking Mason Bates' techno grooves in his San Francisco club dance party.

Del Sol String Quartet has performed at prestigious venues around the world, including the Kennedy Center, Library of Congress, Smithsonian Museum and National Gallery of Art in Washington DC; Symphony Space in New York City; Other Minds Festival of New Music in San Francisco; Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Santa Cruz, CA; Clefworks Festival, Montgomery, AL; Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, Houston; Santa Fe Opera in NM; Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, NY; Candlelight Concerts, Columbia, MD; University of Vermont Lane Series in Burlington, VT; Davos and Hirzenberg Music Festivals in Switzerland; and the Chengdu Festival of Contemporary Music in China.

Del Sol has breached the wall between pit and stage in Stringwreck, its cheeky collaboration with critically acclaimed choreographers Janice Garrett and Charles Moulton; explored the intimate impact of AIDS in composer Ricky Ian Gordon's deeply moving, autobiographical chamber opera, Green Sneakers, with baritone Jesse Blumberg; and immersed the audience in a four-dimensional soundscape created with composer and video artist Chris Jonas in Garden. Whether diving deeply into a single work or transcending the limits of genre, Del Sol's carefully crafted chamber music programs engage audiences fully in the concert experience.

With its deep commitment to education, Del Sol has reached thousands of K-12 students through inventive school performances, workshops, coaching and residencies. The Quartet members also have worked closely with student composers, musicians and faculty artists at universities across the country, including Dartmouth, MIT, Brandeis, Northeastern, Georgetown, Carnegie Mellon, University of New Mexico, University of California at Berkeley, San Diego, and Santa Cruz, Chapman, Augustana, Illinois State, the Peabody Institute, the Manhattan School of Music and San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Dark Queen Mantra | Sono Luminus | Release date: August 25, 2017
Del Sol String Quartet | Gyan Riley, guitar

[1-3] Terry Riley: Dark Queen Mantra (2015) with Gyan Riley, guitar
1. I. Vizcaino
2. II. Goya with Wings
3. III. Dark Queen Mantra

[4-8] Stefano Scodanibbio: Mas Lugares (su Madrigali di Monteverdi) (2003)
4. I. Allegro
5. II. Io mi son giovinetta. Allegro
6. III. Largo
7. IV. Quell'augellin, che canta. Allegro
8. V. Che se tu se' 'l cor mio

9. Terry Riley: The Wheel & Mythic Birds Waltz (1983)


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