On October 17, the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain concert in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage will include an opportunity for ukulele-toting audience members to play along with a piece called Relentlessly In C. This message from the group explains the background.
"Relentlessly In C was written as a response to a certain style of 'American minimalism,' often cited as the beginnings of techno, house music, repetitive beats, and club or dance music—among other trends.
In 1969, Terry Riley released an album containing his own composition—In C—which came to be seen as a key work, and hugely influential. Although it was called In C, the tonality of the piece changes in a multilayered flow.
In 1989 The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain recorded a quite different and simpler work in "homage" to Terry Riley's piece. This was originally broadcast by BBC Radio in 1989 and has been re-broadcast several times since.
Whereas Riley's piece incorporates various tonalities, the ukulele orchestra piece stays "relentlessly in C," and is arguably therefore much more 'minimalist' than Riley's piece. The Ukulele Orchestra hopes that, nevertheless, the performance possibilities of this music offer some amusement and interest to ukulele players and others."
The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain explains, "For participants at the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain concert who are intending to join in with Relentlessly In C, this video gives a clue as to how the music might sound. In response to requests for guidance on how the notation might be interpreted, this recording was dashed off 10 minutes before showtime in the dressing room of the Royal Hall, Harrogate, England in September 2012."
Get a flavor of what to expect by watching this video of the orchestra's appearance at London's Royal Albert Hall during the 2009 BBC Proms.
Related: October 17, Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain