“…a completely original and unique composition talent…”
about the recent premiere of the chamber opera Through/In:
“This a bold, atonal work perfectly suited to the shifting emotional mindscape of our age…It works very well. It’s a true gesamtkunstwerk.”
-pupsbooks.com, Oct. 7, 2022
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-(about Piece for Clarinet and Tape): …beeps and blips of the tape…perfectly capture the zeitgeist of the nascent computer era, with all of its possibility, mystery and vague sense of anxiety. The tape also has a fascinating way of constructing a sense of physical space within the piece, as its vanishing echoes seem to map out some sort of vacant chasm. Within this unfeeling void, the clarinet’s melancholy crooning seems to give voice to the emptiness of infinity…
-(about “…vikings, unless…”):…The work is altogether thoroughly engaging, and Anderson’s intimation — without explicit articulation — of such sophisticated narrative elements with such limited musical materials is commendable…
Graeme Steele Johnson, The Clarinet online-Feb. 2020
In this album, you will hear the diversity of the composer’s inspiration amid its intense, physical element. The first track, appropriately named “…increasingly, physical…”, establishes tension with consistent building and release, creating captivating drama that draws the listener in immediately. The jazz-influenced composition is played with inescapable passion. Five Bagatelles and a Synopsis, on the other hand, is an exploration lead by pianist Jin-Ok Lee into a realm evoking free jazz sharing blurred lines with the avant-garde. Contrast that with “…springing, gradually…” which presents Debbie Schmidt and her French horn creating a grand orchestral sound that evokes nostalgia for the days of radio dramas. Anderson’s One At A Time is nothing less than engaging. Listeners will be hanging on to every breath the musicians take. Performances are raw, emotionally arresting, and yet provide the perfect insight into the mind of a completely original and unique composition talent.
ArkivMusic, editorial review
– Solo instrumental works decanted over the last 40 years are what this retrospective is all about. A deep thinking cat that never gives you what you expect even when you think you know what’s coming next, Anderson pulls off the difficult with grace that doesn’t quit. It’s just you and him and you can feel safe putting your trust in Anderson to make it all work.
Midwest Record- 7/18/18
-Listeners who enjoy modern solo-instrument music as a genre will be intrigued by the offerings on a Ravello CD featuring works by Douglas Anderson.
-When we think of music for a solo instrument, it often implies an additional accompaniment, usually a keyboard. One at a Time implies here the way a composer can explore the possibilities of a single instrument exploring its unique timbre, registral qualities, technique and other possibilities through structural and compositional style. The nine works on this new release are by New York-based composer-conductor Douglas Anderson and cover music composed between 1975 to 2011. Along the way, we are treated to a sort of snapshot of American contemporary music as it informs the style of Anderson…
Though the musical approaches may have similar launching points of motivic development, the resulting solo works here are all rather fascinating in their own way. Listeners will likely gravitate to the ones that are closer to their personal preferences while also finding much to appreciate and explore in this interesting collection of chamber music.
Writing solo pieces can be a challenge with instruments that have limited ability to explore, or suggest, harmonic regions. Yet Anderson is canny when faced with such apparent obstacles. He employs various techniques specific to each instrument in shaping compelling and mysterious narratives…brooding orations…sweeping and animated flights…expressive, vital commentary…piquant dialogue…engaging…All of the soloists are expert champions of Anderson’s inventive brainstorms.
Donald Rosenberg, Gramaphone magazine, 11/2018
about the orchestral piece In Memoriam on the Parma album Sparks: Miniature Works for Orchestra:
“…a warm string sound with delicate wind and brass lines floating through the texture in this moving work.”
Steven Kennedy- Cinemusical 1/18/2017
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about the CD Douglas Anderson Chamber Symphonies 2, 3, & 4:
“With this album, Anderson makes his debut on the Ravello label with a musical offering of big sounds through small instrumental chamber groups; timbre, sonorous atmospheres and harmonic richness become the protagonists of the solid ideas of the American composer…
What the composer achieves is to give a new thrust to the chamber symphony genre, almost an homage…The lyricism, the freshness, the color of Anderson’s atonal compositions are elegant; and with their sensitivity they invite us to live intimate moments, to think and reflect…”
“…all three works display an essential melodic coherence, the salient features of the rows remaining recognizable throughout the repetitions and variations Anderson has them undergo. One side effect of this transparency is a remarkable clarity of line, which is also facilitated by the small sizes of the ensembles—two trios and a quartet.
…as these three works show, the creative application of serial method can produce music that, no less than tonal music, reveals its structures on its surfaces. Beyond their intrinsic value, Anderson’s chamber symphonies demonstrate the continued relevance of serial and serial-based composition for the creation of profoundly melodic, polyphonic works.”
-Daniel Barbiero-Avant Music News 2/8/16
“Douglas Anderson manages to create works that make a nod to the early modernist period yet sound thoroughly current and original. They are invigorating and yes, coherent in the best ways. “
“What in the end matters for us is the impact the music makes on us as listeners. And it is that which stands out. This is music of vitality and charm, a lyrical quality and long, intrinsically interesting melodic part writing.”
“They are filled with invention and do indeed hold together nicely.”…“The performances are excellent.”…“I recommend this volume strongly.”…“They are well worth your time.”
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review-1/7/2016
“…skillful… engaging…a focus on the sound world within which each of the instruments exists – a world that … Anderson often seeks to expand beyond its traditional boundaries. Anderson gives the performers … numerous opportunities for solo display.”
“…rhythmic fluidity of speech and elegance of contrapuntal texture, sometimes dense but still intelligible… Excellent interpretative performances by the ensembles that alternate in the performances, namely Eight Strings & A Whistle and di.vi.sion.”
About Medea in Exile:
“The opera [is] just under an hour of unremitting intensity…Anderson’s music is expressive and vigorous, forcefully reflecting the drama at hand, and full of orchestral color and variety. Chamber opera companies, wherever you may be, tune in.”
Shirley Fleming in American Record Guide-November/December, 2000.
About Faust Triumphant:
“As a composer, his skill was evident…Mr. Anderson’s spirited score plus Mr. Joffe’s inventive libretto captured (in a scant ten minutes!) a deliciously witty and sophisticated variation of [Faust’s] story.”