Farewell to Music

Riley Lee, Barbara White, Charles MacDonald

Catalog #: TROY1879
Release Date: November 1, 2021
Format: Digital

Composer Barbara White discovered the shakuhachi while in college and her fascination with this instrument has continued form more than 30 years. The works on this recording are the result of a ten year collaboration with shakuhachi grand master Riley Lee. White studied the shakuhachi with Lee and has composed numerous works for him. White's music has been described as "provocative even when it speaks in undertones, creating a personal space that is as unique as it is inviting." The recipient of numerous honors and awards, she is on the music faculty at Princeton. Riley Lee began studying the shakuhachi in 1970 while living in Japan. He is the first non-Japanese to attain the rank of "grand master."


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Track Listing

Title Composer Performer
Buddha Smiles on East 23rd Barbara White Riley Lee (shakuhachi)
Buddha Pines in the Dappled Glade Barbara White Riley Lee (shakuhachi)
Chisoku Reibo Barbara White Riley Lee (shakuhachi); Barbara White (clarinet)
Cut the Devil's Throat Barbara White Riley Lee (shakuhachi); Barbara White (clarinet)
Refuge Barbara White Riley Lee (shakuhachi); Barbara White (clarinet)
Buddha Breathes in Bamboo Barbara White Riley Lee (shakuhachi)
Farewell to Music Barbara White Riley Lee (shakuhachi); Barbara White (clarinet); Charles MacDonald (drones and improvising guitar)


  • The composer and clarinetist Barbara White has quite an interest in the bamboo flute the shakuhachi, and her decade long collaboration with Riley Lee provides for some very atypical and exciting song craft on this listen. "Buddha Smiles on East 23rd opens the listens with the warm and dreamy shakuhachi from Lee emitting much beauty, and "Buddha Pines in the Dappled Glade"continues this approach with more firm blowing techniques as space is manipulated with much skill. Further on, "Cut The Devil's Throat"places White's clarinet into the atmospheric and nearly sci-fi landscape, while "Refuge"spends 9+ minutes mesmerizing us with its quivering moments and soft, mysterious instrumentation. Approaching the end, "My Lagan Love"is a brief 2 minutes of emotive and soothing chemistry between the pair, and "She Moved Thorugh The Fair"exits on the most adventurous tune, where guitar and drones from Charles MacDonald are met with Lee and White's improvised solos. Lee is the first non-Japanese musician to attain the title of 'grand master' of the shakuhachi, and together with White's composing prowess and intimate clarinet delivery, they make for a very atypical and memorable outing.

    – Take Effect

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