WAR OF THE WORLDS, a wild new
opera directed by Yuval Sharon, was comissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and premiered in November 2017 at Walt Disney Concert Hall and on the streets of L.A.
Read the reviews:
The New York Times Seth Colter Walls wrote about "Ms. Gosfield’s thrilling chamber orchestra writing"
The Los Angeles Times Mark Swed wrote "Stop reading and nab any seat you can find" and included it in his year end list as
"The merriest opera premiere of the year"
The New Yorker Alex Ross included it in his notable performances of 2017 and wrote of "a vital, engaged new-music cohort, one unafraid of risk."
"Unbound" by the Jasper String Quartet named one of the
top CDs of the year by the New York Times 'Annie Gosfield’s “The Blue Horse Walks on the Horizon” shows some of the same dramatic flair as her recent opera for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. S.C.W.'
PROFILE IN THE NEW YORK TIMES BY VIVEN SCHWEITZER: "Scoring the Music of Machines"
"Ms. Gosfield, whose imaginative works reflect her experience in the classical, rock and jazz worlds and blend acoustic and electronic elements to alluring effect... The music’s mood reflected the nature of radio jamming — abrasive, otherworldly and, at times, unexpectedly and eerily beautiful."
- Vivien Schweitzer, The New York Times
Read the whole review of the JACK Quartet premiere at Roulette
"New York's doyenne of gnarly sampled sounds"
Russell Platt, The New Yorker
"A ceaselessly re-inventive composer, Gosfield mixes history, technology, and autobiography in work that oscillates vibrantly between past and future."
-Richard Gehr, The Village Voice
"And how’s this for an unusual source? A piece for cello and electronics incorporated the recorded droning of a truck siphoning water on the corner of First Avenue and 12th Street in the East Village."
-Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times
"...a major figure of the downtown scene with pieces that use nonmusical sounds (warped records, satellite signals, and more) in a strikingly expressive manner" The New Yorker, in a preview of a concert at Merkin Hall
"An emotional highlight was Annie Gosfield's 'Long Waves and Random Pulses' for violin and jammed radio signals... The sound palette created by these multiple layers was astonishingly rich, and at times the virtuosic violin line above the repetitive radio signal patterns took on the tried-and-tested beauty of a Vivaldi concerto."
The NY Times, concert review by Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim
"Annie Gosfield, a New York composer and keyboardist, exuberantly exploits the inadvertent music of contemporary life: static, distortion, the clangor of industry and the siren song of space junk form part of her digital palette."
The New York Times, CD release concert review by Steve Smith
"Gosfield's pieces, driven by strong instrumental protagonists, stake their claim to a unique world - she's a glorious provincial, the Carl Nielsen of
Second Avenue.–Russell Platt, The New Yorker, reviewing the CD
"Almost Truths and Open Deceptions"
CLICK HERE FOR THE COMPLETE NEW YORKER REVIEW
"Few composers have come so close,
I think, to the true essence of industrial actionwhile the
environment is one of heat, grime, and sparks flying, the working
of the engine is precise and relentless"
Robert Carl, reviewing "Burnt
Ivory and Loose Wires", Fanfare Magazine
"A one woman Hadron collider, the queen of the detuned industrial noise warp musical universe that she inhabits." –BBC Radio, Max Reinhardt
"The most kaleidoscopic and sophisticated
keyboardsampler performance I've ever heard" Kyle Gann, The Village Voice
two or three people use the sampler distinctively enough to be instantly
recognizable, and Gosfield may be chief in that respect"
Kyle Gann, The Village Voice
Concert review by Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim
in The New York Times, June 16, 2013,
of violinist Monica Germino at the ACFNY
"An emotional highlight was Annie Gosfield's 'Long Waves and Random Pulses' for violin and jammed radio signals. Ms. Gosfield used audio samples of sound patterns used by Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union during World War II to interfere with enemy radio transmissions, as well as a snippet of the Chaconne from Bach’s Partita in D minor that briefly flickered through the sonic mayhem. The sound palette created by these multiple layers was astonishingly rich, and at times the virtuosic violin line above the repetitive radio signal patterns took on the tried-and-tested beauty of a Vivaldi concerto."
Almost Truths and Open Deceptions
CD Review by Julian Cowley, The Wire #344, October 2012
The urban urgency, collisions and intensities of New York surge through keyboard player Annie Gosfield’s concerts with electric guitarist Roger Kleier and drummer Ches Smith. "Almost Truths and Open Deceptions" includes a blast of that group in action, augmented to a quintet, heavily rock-inflected and laced with industrial noise. But the city also leaves its residue in the music Gosfield notates for others. Her 24 minute chamber concerto, written for cellist Felix Fan, is stealthily paced but packed with characteristic clashes and disjunctions, abrasive timbres, pounding piano, smeared glissandi and fierce ensemble surges. Gosfield writes tough music, packing a punch and steering clear of sentimentality, even when evoking through an instrumental quartet a long lost sound from tenement hallways - the mechanical flaws and crackling shellac of wavering hand-cranked phonographs fitted with cactus spines for needles. Her own solo performance of Phantom Shakedown is a splendidly pungent distillation of her attitude and humour, combining raucously strummed piano with burbling shortwave radio and the churning grind of a cement mixer.
Review of "Almost Truths and Open Deceptions"
in New Music Box
CD release concert review by Steve Smith:
Moving Sounds Festival at the Czech Center
The New York Times, September 17, 2012
Annie Gosfield, a New York composer and keyboardist, exuberantly exploits the inadvertent music of contemporary life: static, distortion, the clangor of industry and the siren song of space junk form part of her digital palette. Her four recent pieces included two from a new CD, “Almost Truths and Open Deceptions.”
George Kentros, a sterling Swedish violinist, opened with “Lost Signals and Drifting Satellites” a homesick rumination further alienated by space-borne hiss and squelch, triggered by Ms. Gosfield on a notebook computer. As part of the Pearls Before Swine Experience, a seasoned Swedish new-music quartet, Mr. Kentros helped to conjure the hiss, crackle and woozy flux of old records played on a windup gramophone in “Cranks and Cactus Needles,” an acoustic piece.
At the piano, Ms. Gosfield offered a new electronically accompanied piece, “Phantom Shakedown”; you could imagine the Stravinsky of “The Rite of Spring” as a saloon pianist, pounding boogie-woogie riffs in time with a broken daiquiri mixer. With the electric-guitarist Roger Kleier and the percussionist Ches Smith, Ms. Gosfield closed with “EWA7”, an explosive extended work indebted to Varèse and Pink Floyd yet entirely her own in terms of originality and audacity.
"Almost Truths..." review in Musical America
Music in Review: Annie Gosfield at The Kitchen By Zachary Woolfe
The New York Times, March 7, 2011
The composer Annie Gosfield works on the boundaries between notated and improvised music, electronic and acoustic sounds, writing music for others and playing herself. She crossed and recrossed all those lines at her concert on Friday evening.
A new work featuring some of Ms. Gosfield’s frequent collaborators, “Daughters of the Industrial Revolution” is a tribute to one of her grandfathers, a junk dealer on the Lower East Side of Manhattan whose scrap-metal recyclings inspired her musical ones. With manufacturing largely gone from the city, there is a poignancy to her machinery samples that undercuts their aggressive sound. She makes the industrial seem romantic.
Ms. Gosfield has recently written extensively for cello, and “Daughters” revolves around that instrument and percussion. The excellent cellist Felix Fan brought intensity to the part, which was less melody than a constantly shifting array of textures.
On top of anxiously driving samples Mr. Fan, the guitarist Roger Kleier, and the percussionists Alex Lipowski and Ches Smith played off one another in music sometimes notated and sometimes improvised; gradually they moved toward a more easygoing, twangy, almost pop sound, as if a genre called industrial country were trying to get out.
The show opened with Ms. Gosfield’s 2008 work “Lightning Slingers and Dead Ringers” which brings acoustic and electronic even closer together: a single player — on Friday it was the passionately precise Stephen Gosling — plays both standard piano and a sampler. With the two moving in and out of consonance, neither side ever gets the upper hand. The electronic sounds sometimes overwhelm the acoustic ones, but the samples keep disintegrating. Technology may drive us, Ms. Gosfield seems to say, but it constantly needs us to keep it going.
Pitchfork: Making Overtures, the Emergence of Indie Classical
By Jayson Greene February 28, 2011 (excerpt)
"Lightning Slingers and Dead Ringers" is a dense, fiendish record that might appeal to devotees of Nine Inch Nails' "The Downward Spiral". The composer Annie Gosfield doesn't just provide a loop of electronic sampled noise for Lisa Moore to accompany on her piano, she makes Moore play the sampler and the piano herself-- a fact that becomes doubly mind-blowing when you listen to the record. The looping tones that ground this piece are some nasty shit: The gurgling synth loop on the second movement, "Languid and Layered", wouldn't be out of place on a Cash Money record. While this cacophony resounds, Moore hammers out high, brittle accompaniment on the piano. The interplay of the two is some of the most genuinely demonic-sounding music I've heard all year. But please, for the love of God, don't put this on while you are cooking... or during dinner, or when you are trying to read. It would be like knocking loose a cage of tarantulas in a closed room and then lying down to take a nap.
Great Songs of 2011 by Seth Colter Walls
The Awl, December 7, 2011(excerpt)
The buzzsaw-noise keyboard samples that kick off Annie Gosfield’s recent piece “Lightning Slingers and Dead Ringers,” as performed on a new EP by pianist Lisa Moore, pack as thrilling a low-end grind as anything I heard in techno this year.
Making Music Out of Uncracked Codes and a Factory’s Din by Allan Kozinn
The New York Times, August 9, 2010
John Zorn, the artistic director of the Stone, a small performance space in the East Village, has turned over the programming this month to his colleague Annie Gosfield. The series she has assembled, with two shows most nights, is a broad representation of the experimental music world. In her first week she devoted evenings to improvisation, bands that straddle rock and the avant-garde, composer-performer concerts, and recitals by the new-music pianists Sarah Cahill, Blair McMillen, Kathleen Supové and Anthony de Mare.
But the early show on Saturday evening was devoted to Ms. Gosfield’s own music, and it showed both sides of her compositional personality. A thoroughly traditional string quartet, “The Blue Horse Walks on the Horizon” (2010), which had its premiere at Caramoor two nights before, opened the program. And “EWA7” (1999), a work that combines sounds recorded in German factories with rock timbres, filled out the rest.
“The Blue Horse Walks on the Horizon” was inspired by the coded information broadcast by French Resistance fighters to the British Army during a nightly program of personal messages, and by codes woven into a silk scarf used by the Danish Resistance. The work’s opening rhythm, played in a monotone and repeated several times during the work, is based on the original French message that Ms. Gosfield took as her title, “Le cheval bleu se promène sur l’horizon.”
Ms. Gosfield said, in comments before the performance, that what fascinated her was not only the determination and ingenuity of the Resistance in finding ways to communicate but also the way abstract phrases could result in specific actions (often, of necessity, violent). That transformation is evident in sections of the quartet in which the rhythmic code phrases become strident, fortissimo chordal figures. Elsewhere the spirit of the time is evoked in wistful, gently melodic passages, played over a pedal point, or repeating bass note.
The Jasper String Quartet, an impressive young ensemble, gave the score a powerful reading with a suppleness that made its many changes — from code rhythms (played matter-of-factly or urgently) to reflective, melancholy writing or violent dissonance — sound natural, and often organic.
Ms. Gosfield’s “EWA7” is a weirdly fascinating piece, commissioned by the Siemens Corporation for a performance at a factory in Nuremberg, Germany. She spent six weeks recording industrial sounds — droning machinery, shift-change whistles (with which she marked off sections within the work), metallic clanging — and then loaded them into a sampling keyboard, so she could combine them at will.
“EWA7” has become something of a signature piece for Ms. Gosfield’s band, which includes Roger Kleier, the guitarist, and Ches Smith, the percussionist, and it sounds a bit different every time you hear it. (Ms. Gosfield also performed it at Merkin Concert Hall in 2007 and has recorded it for Mr. Zorn’s Tzadik label.) On Saturday Mr. Kleier’s crunchy, sustained guitar lines interacted beautifully with both the factory noises, played by Ms. Gosfield, and Mr. Smith’s drumming. And Mr. Smith took several ambitious, rhythmically variegated solos.
Gosfield's May 3 Merkin Hall concert featured in The New York Times Best of 2007: The Sound of the New is Heard All Over Again
Click here to read a review of the May 3 Merkin Hall concert in The New York Times
Click here to watch (and read) an interview in New Music Box
Click here to read an unedited interview from The Wire
Out of Static and Bleeps Can Come, Yes, Melodies: Concert review by Allan Kozinn in The New York Times, May 5, 2007, photo by Erin Baiano
Annie Gosfield writes music that ranges from improvisatory and serendipitous to carefully notated. But running through much of her work is a fascination with noise. Her pieces are often about the ways that noise can be manipulated and put to musical use. Sometimes they are about the reverse: the way purely musical sounds can be made into noise, and then turned to expressive use.
Ms. Gosfield offered an overview of her work in an installment of Merkin Concert Hall’s “Zoom: Composers Close Up” series on Thursday evening. The first half was devoted mainly to acoustic chamber works, the exception being “Lost Signals and Drifting Satellites” (2003) for electric violin and recordings of satellite transmissions. The transmissions are largely static and bleeping, but Ms. Gosfield is a close listener, and the melodies she hears within this space noise have become the seeds of a lyrical violin line, complete with arching themes and graceful trills.
George Kentros gave the work a shapely, persuasive performance and was also heard as a member of the Pearls Before Swine Experience, the Swedish chamber group for which Ms. Gosfield wrote “Cranks and Cactus Needles” (2000). The title refers to parts of an antique record player, and the work, scored for flute, violin, cello and piano, is a modernist’s fantasy of an old 78-r.p.m. disc — one etched with chunky, acerbic, rhythmically complex music — grinding along. Here Ms. Gosfield uses noise descriptively: sections of dry sawing in the violin and cello lines are meant to evoke the distortions of the worn old disc.
The concert began with a solo piano work, “The Wanton Brutality of a Tender Touch” (2006), inspired by a brawl at a baseball game, and given a forceful, virtuosic reading by Blair McMillen. Mr. McMillen’s sharp-edged, cluster-driven pianism was also a driving force in “Almost-Truths and Open Deceptions” (2007), a fresh, vigorous chamber work for strings, percussion and piano in which shifting (and sometimes pounding) rhythms and intricate interplay create the feeling of a rock-influenced dance suite.
After the intermission, Ms. Gosfield and her rock trio played “EWA7” (1999), a work based on visits to factories in Nuremberg, Germany. Ms Gosfield’s sampling keyboard was loaded with industrial noise — machinery, buzz saws and industrial atmosphere, at various pitches — from which she wove an inventive, surprisingly musical line into a texture dominated by Ches Smith’s muscular percussion and filled out with patches of distorted color from Roger Kleier’s electric guitar.
Review of "Lost Signals and Drifting Satellites" in The Wire:
"Tzadik is becoming very good at single CD snapshots of modern composers, working across a multitude of idioms. More budget-minded classical labels will restrict a CD to a session with a single orchestra, or a solo piano recital, but the four pieces on Lost Signals and Drifting Satellites are scored for string quartet, violin and shortwave recordings, prepared piano, and solo cello. It's Annie Gosfield's third CD for Zorn's label and her music is unlike anything in the current European chamber spectrum, coupling zest and imaginative poetics with a warming textural glow underlying the spikiness.
In The Harmony of the Body-Machine, Joan Jeanrenaud works the cello to a backdrop of rumbling metallic plates, crushing piledriver blows and rattling components. The piece was written during a residence in a German factory and is resonant with the intrusive noise of heavy industry, much like Gosfield's more pyrotechnic compositions on 2001's Flying Sparks and Heavy Machinery. The former Kronos member picks her way through the production lines with assured dignity, tripping lightly on harmonic skates and stroking hard and loud where necessary.
Gosfield's own rendition of her prepared piano piece Mentryville is played with more vamp in her stride than you tend to find in Cage's definitive pieces for the distorted piano, a skeletal bar-room tinkle. The Flux Quartet swoon through the shifting gravities and vertigo-depictions of Lightheaded and Heavyhearted with aplomb.
The title piece is played by its commissioner, Swedish violinist George Kentros, who requested a piece for "violin and something". The something he got was a delicate impasto of deep space satellite transmissions and shortwave broadcast static. The violin twirls gracefully through this galactic fog, a cosmic dance whose contours ripple around the amorphous motifs that occasionally surface in the electric shower. As I write, the Huygens probe is gearing up to plunge into Titan's gaseous shell, and this what I'll be listening to as it bumps into that bad boy."
Rob Young, The Wire, February 2005
Preview for "Lost Signals and Drifting Satellites" CD release concert:
"Annie Gosfield, a star of the downtown
scene, has a new album out on John Zorn's Tzadik label, and
Merkin Concert Hall is hosting an evening of her electronically
powered chamber music, which combines acoustic sonorities with sounds
from such 'nonmusical' sources as warped 78 records,
'detuned' radios, and beatenup pianos. The
pianist Andrew Russo, the FLUX quartet, and the ensemble So Percussion,
among others, perform a program featuring several premieres; John
The New Yorker, December 13, 2004
Illustration from The New Yorker by Michael Kupperman
"Dealing musically with machinery is nothing new, but Gosfield's approach sets her apart. Working in what is usually considered a boys-with-toys aesthetic, Gosfield avoids the urge to charge into bloody, ear-splitting battle against the harsh reality of 21st century noise and decay. Instead, she listens for its beauty. Within the language of machinery she has discovered not precision, but rather imperfect rhythms and slippery pitches; her music transports the sounds of a factory floor or a crumbling player piano into the concert hall. Although Gosfield's work is frequently colored by mechanical sounds, her sonic memories can find expression as readily in the toe-tapping energy of an acoustic string quartet as in a work for prepared piano."
Molly Sheridan, Time Out New York, December 9, 2004
Reviews of Flying
Sparks and Heavy Machinery (Tzadik 7069)
"Annie Gosfield is associated
with the downtown New York scene, increasingly polymorphous in its
involvement with improvisation, technology, popular and world musics,
and experimentalism. Gosfield has tended to straddle the fence between
strictly notated scores and improvised pieces, the fact that she
directs her own performance ensemble giving her this flexibility.
She has carved out a particular profile with her technique of combining
samples of unusual sound sources with live instruments. The Manufacture
of Tangled Ivory, written for the Bang On A Can All Stars and released
on Sony, using in particular the sampled sound of a detuned piano,
was my first encounter with her music, and I found it a knockout.
EWA7 (1999) explores similar terrain, albeit on
a much grander scale. It resulted from a residency at an industrial
site in Nuremberg, Germany (the work's title is the name of
the factory where the composer worked), sponsored by the Siemens
corporation (to explore "connections between art and industry";
how enlightened!). A substantial portion of the work consists of
industrial sounds Gosfield "collected": they are either
performed from her sampling keyboard, on actual factory materials
by two of the percussionists, or on an additional prerecorded
accompaniment. In addition, all the other musical ideas of the piece
are inspired by sounds in the factory environment, and are played
out in rhythmic patterns, repetitive motives, or the evolution of
the live electronics part realized by Ikue Mori. All the musicians
in the ensemble deserve some credit as cocreators, it appears,
as many of their own musical responses to the factory sounds became
part of the piece under Gosfield's editorship.
Needless to say, this is all really "cuttingedge."
And it is really good. Gosfield has a talent for recognizing sounds
with genuine "presence", and then finding a musical context
for their unfolding. As a result, repeatedly the work builds up
a powerful momentum that allows us to accept its substantial timespan
(about fortyfive minutes, in three movements). At first the
piece seemed somewhat episodic to me, but repeated visits suggest
that there is a larger architecture at work. The first movement
sounds expository in the way its elements are introduced and develop.
The second has the quality of a scherzo, in that its materials are
far more pulsed and "dancy", but still fragmented. The
third allows a strong, seductive groove to take over, bringing the
emergence of clearcut rhythm to reach its orgiastic culmination.
It's perhaps unfair to critique Flying
Sparks and Heavy Machinery (2000) after EWA7.
It's a perfectly wellwrought piece for string quartet
and percussion using musical materials similar to its immediate
predecessor. Heard in a different context, either live concert or
on a different collection, I know it would impress me as the work
of a composer with a distinctive voice. It's just that EWA7
is so sonically compelling, indeed overwhelming in its sheer sonorous
force, that the other work on this program pales a bit in comparison.
In the end, I find this a wonderful disc,
beautifully performed and produced. Perhaps more than any other
composer of her generation (the 40somethings), Gosfield has
taken up the challenge of Edgard VarĖse, writing music which addresses
forthrightly the aesthetic challenge of mechanization, technology,
and science. Her instincts for the use of "concrete" materials
are superb. She makes "noise" sound as though it was always
meant for the musical context in which she inserts it. She uses
the most contemporary musical technology to accomplish this task.
And often, the result fun to dance to! A winner."
Robert Carl, reviewing "Flying
Sparks and Heavy Machinery", Fanfare, 2002
"She invokes in vibrant, youarethere
fashion the metallic pings, pangs, and clangs of a mass of machines
at midnight, but she doesn't just leave it at that. Gosfield
puts these sounds into a context, one that is episodic, insistently
rhythmic, almost cinematic. One can almost 'see' the wheels
turning, gears meshing and the glow of a combustion chamber as an
indistinct mass of metal slowly but certainly takes on shape and
purpose. As in nature, out of unrest, patterns emerge, followed
by an unsentimental, coarse beauty. This might be the music of a
factory, albeit one with heart."
Mark Keresman, reviewing "Flying
Sparks and Heavy Machinery", Waterfront Week,
Reviews of Burnt
Ivory and Loose Wires (Tzadik 7040)
"Only two or three people use the sampler
distinctively enough to be instantly recognizable, and Gosfield
may be chief in that respect. Her jumpy ostinatos and rhythmic intercutting
bring no one more recent than that crazy modernist George Antheil
to mind, while her brash sampled piano tones, precisely mistuned
to sound like the very image of desuetude, are wholly original.
Three of the six pieces here combine her raucous noises with various
Downtownregular soloists. An other makes hay from sampled
acoustic synthesizer blips and bleeps, which must be a first, and
the last is a taut essay for the ROVA Sax Quartet that devolves
from microtonal almostunisons into increasing improvisation.
An impressive debut disc."
Kyle Gann, reviewing "Burnt
Ivory and Loose Wires", The Village Voice,
"Annie Gosfield is one of the
most interesting composers to emerge recently on New York's
Downtown scene. Her music has the roughtimbred, rockinfluenced,
quasiimprovisato feel that is the trademark of much new work
being created in that milieu, but she also has put a distinctive
twist into her work that makes it stand out. By sampling an outoftune
piano and then composing with the resultant library of sounds, she
has created a characteristic tone color that suggest a crazy, breakneck
musical machine, lurching, almost careening out of control. Yet
at the same time, since all these sounds are quite specifically
positioned on a digital keyboard, her control over this seemingly
chaotic soundworld is in fact very precise. Few composers have come
so close, I think, to the true essence of industrial actionwhile
the environment is one of heat, grime, and sparks flying, the working
of the engine is precise and relentless.
I first encountered Gosfield's music
on a Sony Disc (SK 62254) which I reviewed in Fanfare 20:1. The
work then was The Manufacture of Tangled Ivory,
which is included on this collection. I was blown away by the Partchian
sound and energy of the work, a reaction sustained when I later
heard it performed live by its dedicatees, The Bang On A Can AllStars,
at their festival's annual "Marathon" concert. While
this work still stands out as the most masterful of all those on
this Tzadik release, the other pieces are nonetheless quite strong
and memorable. Nickolaievski Soldat has an astonishing
break where a flood of percussive sounds tumbles forth like an overstuffed
bag of bones from an opened closet; Four Roses
creates a raucous and sinister dialog between scordatura cello and
sampler keyboard; and Blue Serge performs the admirable
trick of resurrecting (via sampling) wonderful 1960s70s analog
synthesizer sounds, and then performing them from the keyboard in
a manner that would have been impossible with the architecture of
the original technology.
The largest work on the collection is Brawl,
written for the Rova Saxophone Quartet (Bruce Ackley, Steve Adams,
Larry Ochs, and John Raskin). It is appropriately gritty, and incorporates
a range of structures, both fixed and improvisatory, to create a
progression from wailing drones to ever greater complexity, as simple
motivic ideas gain rhythmic profile and spin off into contrapuntal
autonomy in each voice. Rova, for whom this sort of aesthetictechnical
stance is second nature, plays with enormous brio.
The performances sound authoritative, the
composer is a convincing performer of her own work, and the sound
is suitably clear and inyourface. Despite its somewhat
punk sound, this is very serious and imaginative music, and bespeaks
a fresh voice on the experimental end of things to keep an eye on.
Robert Carl, Fanfare,
1999 Reviewing "Burnt Ivory and Loose Wires"
Live Reviews and Previews of EWA7
"Annie Gosfield, Phil Kline,
and Glenn Branca all unearthed new works. It was also one of those
nights in which you realized that Downtown American musicneglected
and despised yet bursting with idealism, inventiveness, and a willingness
to try anythingis truly with idealism, inventiveness, and
a willingness to try anything&is truly one of the world's great
The Village Voice,
"We get a new work by Gosfield,
whose whose explosions of factory sounds have to be heard to be
believed...All electric, all noisy, but all symphonic and done by
three of downtown's suavest musical thinkers."
The Village Voice, 2000
can always be counted on to create a sense of spatiotemporal
dislocationwhich certainly promises to be one component of
this program. She'll present EWA7, a machineshop
throwdown that could reduce angstridden 'industrial'
poseurs to sobbing heaps."
The Village Voice,
"An intense experience of rhythm,
sound color, and emotion."
Tygodnik Poszechny, reviewing EWA7
at Warsaw Autumn, 2001
"...On the great side, what first
comes to mind is Annie Gosfield's "The Manufacture
of Tangled Ivory". This twopart work begins
with a cadenza for solo sampler that undoubtedly sets the benchmark
against which future instrumental gestures will be measured. I first
heard the piece over my car radio before I knew what it was; I was
immediately trying to guess what composer had combined elements
of early Cage, Harry Partch, and Conlon Nancarrow into this technohybrid.
(And where did she get certain keyboard samples that include pops
and scratches? It shouldn't work, but it does.) The second
movement is a furious explosion, a thundering wall of pulsating
machine sound that is irresistible (and danceable). I heard the
piece in this May's Marathon, and came to the concert prepared
to be disappointedany piece with this brilliant a sonic surface
had to be studiospecific, and would fall flat once it was
in a live context. Not true; it was even more exciting and corporeal
in live performance."
Robert Carl, reviewing "Cheating,
Lying, Stealing", by the Bang on a Can Allstars, Fanfare,
"The old American West has never
seemed the most obvious setting for Haydn, Mozart, and Verdi. But
if those composers sounded particularly out of place here last week,
it was for reasons musical rather than historical. Oldfashioned
melody and harmony were out. Color, texture, and sheer sonority
were in. Living composers Kaiha Saariaho, a Finn, and Annie Gosfield,
an American, were the toasts of the town."
James R. Oestreich, on the Santa
Fe Chamber Music Festival, The New York Times.
"Gosfield writes with style and
assurance; chamber music represents roughly half of the composer's
output. The motivic workings in her string quartet stretched from
Eastern Europe to East L.A. The 18minute, onemovement
study in extremes was at times a labor of cool, detached abstraction.
While almost constrained in sections, the Miami String Quartet had
lots of expressionistic flurries to play with. Theirs was an intensely
committed performance of Gosfield, unplugged. By contrast, The
Manufacture of Tangled Ivory, which closed the evening,
gave full vent to the composer's penchant for rhythmdriven
music. The work of detuned piano sounds had the feel of a cultclassicinthemaking"
Kristina Melcher, on the Santa
Fe Chamber Music Festival, The New Mexican, 2002