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RILEY, T.: Heaven Ladder, Book 5 (The) / Half-Wolf Dances Mad In Moonlight / G Song (ZOFO Duet)

Dorian Sono Luminus DSL-92189

   Culture Catch, January 2016
   Gramophone, December 2015
   Fanfare, November 2015
   Fanfare, November 2015
   Gramophone, October 2015
   The WholeNote, September 2015
   American Record Guide, September 2015
   The Arts Desk, August 2015
   MusicWeb International, July 2015
   Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, July 2015, July 2015, July 2015
   Textura, July 2015, June 2015
   Second Inversion, June 2015
   WQXR (New York), June 2015
   The Washington Post, June 2015, June 2015
   Christian B. Carey | Composer, writer, performer, June 2015
   WFMT (Chicago), May 2015, May 2015
   The Buffalo News, May 2015, May 2015, May 2015
   Midwest Record, May 2015
See latest reviews of other albums...

Steve Holtje
Culture Catch, January 2016

Best Classical Albums 2015, Part One

…the sonic dimensions of being able to utilize the full range of the piano via four hands instead of two adds grandness of sound. The motivic material has Riley’s unique meld of concert-hall and vernacular flavors, and the development of each piece has a little of the embellishing technique of his Minimalist improvisations… © 2016 Culture Catch

Pwyll ap Siôn
Gramophone, December 2015

Sceptics of Riley’s recent music should check out this recording of his compositions for piano duet. …the piano springs to brilliant life here, from Etude from the Old Country to the funky, freewheeling Cinco de Mayo. Electrifying stuff. © 2015 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Andrew Quint
Fanfare, November 2015

A must-have for piano fans is ZOFO Plays Terry Riley. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review

Jim Svejda
Fanfare, November 2015

The playing of ZOFO…is pretty astonishing from beginning to end, and actually makes the album blurb (from the composer himself, no less) seem like an understatement: “They think and play as if guided by a Universal mind. It is truly an illuminating and electrifying experience to see and hear these two young artists in performance. Not only are they dazzling in their interactive virtuosity but also mesmerizing in the cast scope of their musicality.” © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review

Pwyll ap Siôn
Gramophone, October 2015

In ZOFO Plays Terry Riley, the prodigiously talented piano duo present Riley’s music at its virtuoso best. …Zimmermann and Nakagoshi’s thrilling playing combines rhythmic and dynamic power with moments of poetic poise and reflection, perfectly balancing the music’s spiritual and corporeal dimensions. © 2015 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Alex Baran
The WholeNote, September 2015

ZOFO plays Terry Riley reflects [the duo’s] appetite for the unconventional. …there is a strong drive in this pair of San Francisco-based performers to find and play the most challenging music they can handle. The result is never short of pure excitement. © 2015 The WholeNote Read complete review

Rob Haskins
American Record Guide, September 2015

ZOFO are the perfect musicians for this music, and Sono Luminus’s production standards are first rate. © 2015 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Graham Rickson
The Arts Desk, August 2015

ZOFO’s performances are flawless. Demonstration quality sound, as you’d expect from this source… Unmissable. © 2015 The Arts Desk Read complete review

Dominy Clements
MusicWeb International, July 2015

Superbly recorded and immaculately performed, this is a highly desirable release from Sono Luminus. © 2015 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, July 2015

The entire program presents a very different side of Riley, the music well-suited for the four-hand sensibilities of ZOFO, fascinating pieces that gives us Riley the post-cosmopolitan, world-directed classicist.

It is a triumph for ZOFO and a great program in itself. This is a different Terry Riley than we may expect but nevertheless excellent in all senses. Listen! © 2015 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

Victor Carr Jr, July 2015

ZOFO players Eva-Maria Zimmerman and Keisuke Nakagoshi offer tour de force performances that convey the music with visceral impact, all captured in vivid recorded sound. If you like pianos, great playing, and engaging music, you owe it to yourself to hear this excellent disc. © 2015 Read complete review

Lawrence D. Devoe, MD, July 2015

ZOFO is one of the most exciting groups currently performing on today’s concert stages. Their willingness to choose unconventional repertory makes each of their releases very much anticipated. I can think of no way better to express my own appreciation of what happens when the master of minimalism meets the masters of duo-pianism. ZOFO Plays Terry Riley is a truly phenomenal recital that will enhance everyone’s musical libraries. © 2015 Read complete review

Textura, July 2015

…the album dazzles sonically speaking (look no further than the episodic “Cinco De Mayo”), and the listener comes away from it impressed that music of such complexity and density can be executed by four hands at a single keyboard. With the duo’s four hands constantly in motion, their latest recording achieves a level of sonic richness more typical of an orchestral ensemble. © 2015 Textura Read complete review

James Manheim, June 2015

Zimmermann and Nakagoshi have been rightly lauded for their chemistry and their glittering, precise high-register work, and that is in evidence once again here on this collection of short pieces by the father of minimalism […] an even stronger attraction is the chance to sample some of the music Riley has written in the years since his epochal In C. Highly recommended. © 2015 Read complete review

Maggie Molloy
Second Inversion, June 2015

“ZOFO Plays Terry Riley” proves that the musical magic of piano extends far beyond a pianist’s 10 fingers. Through their exploration of Riley’s works, Zimmermann and Nakagoshi paint a vivid and colorful picture of the immense textural, timbral, and stylistic possibilities of piano duets. © 2015 Second Inversion Read complete review

Daniel Stephen Johnson
WQXR (New York), June 2015

ZOFO’s Eva-Maria Zimmermann and Keisuke Nakagoshi present the program with the sensitivity and reverence it deserves, and the new arrangements sound surprisingly natural in translation. © 2015 WQXR (New York) Read complete review

Anne Midgette and Tom Huizenga
The Washington Post, June 2015

…this album is highly recommendable as a window into another side of a composer whose melting pot of influences makes him an American treasure. It also flows like one big suite, leaving you to forget that, for all its variety, it’s still just four highly coordinated hands on 88 little keys. © 2015 The Washington Post Read complete review

Christian Carey, June 2015

[ZOFO’s] rendition of “Half-Wolf Dances Mad in the Moonlight” is a powerfully incisive standout and “G Song” is supple and, given the breathlessly fast tempo, played with impressive rhythmic integrity.

Given their chameleon-like presence on previous recordings, ranging from Rite of Spring to Samuel Barber to David Lang, it is hardly surprising that ZOFO relishes in the eclecticism of the fare here. Recommended. © 2015 Read complete review

Christian Carey
Christian B. Carey | Composer, writer, performer, June 2015

Piano four hands duo Eva-Maria Zimmermann and Keisuke Nakagoshi once again bring energy, virtuosity, and imagination to a composer’s work on their latest recording, a portrait of Terry Riley. © 2015 Christian B Carey Read complete review

Lisa Flynn
WFMT (Chicago), May 2015

It is quite evident in this music that the composer and the performers were personally engaged in the making of this electrifying project. © 2015 WFMT (Chicago) Read complete review

Stephen Smoliar, May 2015

…ZOFO has a knack for playing out melodic lines embedded in thick and often polyrhythmic textures. As a result, all five of the pieces in the fifth book of The Heaven Ladder fit their technical skills like a glove. These are also the pieces in which Riley is most successful in prolonging his ideas, most notably in the two longest tracks that frame the entire album, “Etude for the Old Country” at beginning and “Cinco de Mayo” at the end. The result is an album that seizes your attention with the very first notes and reverberates in memory with the last of them. © 2015 Read complete review

Jeff Simon
The Buffalo News, May 2015

…one of the finest Riley discs in a very long time—the 20-fingered single piano duo ZOFO playing a truly gorgeous program of Riley’s music. © 2015 The Buffalo News Read complete review

Paula Edelstein, May 2015

Listeners will be astounded by the resonance of the full 8 octaves emanating from the duo’s…piano as the Grammy-nominated, prize-winning pair blaze a bold new path through Riley’s extensive repertoire for one piano-four-hands.

It is an excellent recording and one that will entertain you from start to finish. © 2015 Read complete review

Paula Edelstein, May 2015

Although Terry Riley is known worldwide for his minimalist concepts, the music played here by ZOFO is maximized, deeply expressive, and passionate. Together they’ve elevated and honed Riley’s groundbreaking music he wrote during the 1960s to a level that is easily appreciated by a new generation of 21st century enthusiasts of one piano-four-hands music. From the opening song “Etude from the Old Country” to the closing song “Cinco de Mayo,” Zimmermann and Nakagoshi show flawless technique, sensitivity, energy and mesmerizing musicality. The music resonates beautifully and is artfully performed as a united force of two creative geniuses. © 2015 Read complete review

Midwest Record, May 2015

Zofo brings all their talents to bear while Riley brings all his talents to the fore and the result is a grandly played 80th birthday present from Riley to himself. Any contemporary classical fan that doesn’t get knocked off his pins by this set is really just a tourist. Killer stuff. © 2015 Midwest Record Read complete review

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