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Sun Rings​: “essential listening” for pandemic times

In case you missed it, Los Angeles Times music critic Mark Swed concluded his How to Listen series with a radiant feature on Terry Riley’s Sun Rings, the 2002 landmark multimedia production written for Kronos, chorus, and pre-recorded space sounds. In response to the COVID-19 closures of music venues and concert halls worldwide, Swed sought a new way of merging music and community, inviting his readers to explore with him the panoply of human experience through “indispensable” classical music selections. 
 
In his final installment, Swed encourages listeners to consider our Earth as Riley does in Sun Rings—from the vast perspective of space. To revisit Sun Rings in this moment is not only to kindle a “sense of sheer marvel of the universe,” but also to grasp at the larger context for our diseased planet, with “its terrible fires, our social upheavals, our lives upturned and lost.” 
 
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