Terry Riley, one of the leading figures in Minimalist and contemporary avant-garde composition at large, returns with a work which grapples with the past while not rehashing former accomplishments. The press release for Aleph makes no small point is stating that this work is a "modern classic" in the composers career, and one that manages to touch upon themes used throughout Riley's oeuvre.
Aleph sits in a place where the words "modern" and "classic" can sit cosily side by side. It commissioned for John Zorn's Aleph-Bet Sound Project at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in 2008, yet the original premise and concept for the work stretch back to Riley's heyday and take ideas from his improvisatory keyboard workouts from the 1970's and heard in works such asShri Camel or Persian Surgery Dervishes. The results are a playful, yet meditative, swirl of classic minimalism that recalls and builds upon what Riley has been working at his entire career.