Christopher Williams and Andrew Foreman. Photo by Corina Bernstein.
The 53 cells of In C. Courtesy Terry Riley.
All Night In C
A large-scale musical performance of Terry Riley’s era-defining minimalist piece In C. The piece creates a mosaic soundscape using fifty-three small musical cells that musicians perform together, each for an indeterminate length. The average performance of In C lasts forty-five minutes; ours will be ten times longer. This shifts the focus of the performance from typical musical considerations (melodic and rhythmic interplay, minimalist texturing) to individual and communal contemplation. As the performer/participant repeats a single cell of music, the individual’s focus alternates between self and collective, his or her own repetition interacting with the changing whole. The listener experiences many of the same sensations. The goal is not one of product or a tidy summary and conclusion: it is one of process, engagement, and active question. The transformation will envelope the performers, the audience, and the night.