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Grant Chu Covell
La Folia, January 2015

A full 56 minutes, the precisely articulated nasal timbre grows mesmerizing, reminding one of a marquee with patterns of synchronized flashing lights. Massed bassoons can summon dark motifs à la Wagner, but Gordon’s minimalist and jazzy writing more often reminds of the frenetic, nose-thumbing moments in Andriessen’s De Staat. Admittedly this sort of extravagance isn’t for everybody, but for some of us, we can’t get enough of it. © 2015 La Folia Read complete review



Stephen J. Nereffid
Music is Good, December 2014

Top 15 New Classical of 2014: Stephen J. Nereffid

Goodness me yes, more minimalism! This one might sound electronic, but the textures you hear are brought to you by seven bassoons, providing a gently shifting ambience intended to evoke a trance-like experience, in which regard Gordon’s wholly successful. © 2014 Music in Good




Joshua Kosman
San Francisco Chronicle, April 2014

A composer who undertakes to write an hour-long piece for seven bassoons would have to be brilliant or mad, and Michael Gordon is perhaps a little bit of both. “Rushes” is more or less just what it sounds like: a steadily pulsating, unbroken wall of woodwind sound. But like the rippling patterns of the op art it calls to mind, “Rushes” is full of wonderful, illusory textural effects and little bursts of surprise. The combination of brusquely staccato phrasing and tender modal harmonies makes for a bittersweet flavor that shifts constantly beneath the listener’s attention, and although some of the instrumental coloring is reminiscent of Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians,” Gordon uses the distinctive qualities of the bassoon—its reediness and weight—to create a boldly different sonic landscape. © 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Read complete review



Brad Balliett
WQXR (New York), March 2014

The playing throughout is…exemplary. These bassoonists make absolute light of the formidable challenges of technique, ensemble, and pitch that this music presents. They somehow achieve a luminous, unified glow that would not be possible with lesser forces or lesser players.

By making the difficult seem so within reach, the Rushes Ensemble sets a crazy-high standard for bassoon ensemble… © 2014 WQXR (New York) Read complete review





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