Boston Music Intelligencer
January 2011

Zodiac Trio
January 31, 2011, Seully Hall, Boston, MA

Review by Fred Bouchard

The Boston New Music Project has again summoned the Zodiac Trio from Paris to perform works it commissioned by Berklee and Boston Conservatory faculty and to showcase new works by the school’s promising students. The Zodiac Trio — Vanessa Mollard, violin, Kilment Krylovskiy, clarinet, Riko Higuma, piano — are a very polished and keen contemporary ensemble with an impressive list of credits and well-earned accolades. Their audience at Seully Hall on January 31 enjoyed world premieres of pieces written especially for the Zodiac Trio by BC’s Andy Vores (Fabrication 17: Stunt) and Berklee’s Andrew List (Visions From The Aboriginal Dreamtime) and two other modernist classics.

List’s Visions re-imagines creation legends of the cosmos in four linked movements, from protozoic miasma through the songlines to dances of unbridled frenzy: I. Introduction (In the beginning the world was featureless, flat and grey“); II. The Dreamtime (Giant mythical beings rose up out of the grey plains where they had been slumbering for countless ages“); III. Love Is a Gift From the Dreamtime (The mythical beings create universal love“); IV. Corroboree (“Spirits from the Dreamtime show the people how to live“).

A sotto voce prelude leads to high violin harmonics, signaling a gentle dawn; then oscillating lines lead to an acerbic 2/4 of martial drama and sudden conflict, with subtle references to Stravinsky and Bartók. A bucolic legato 4/4 (violin and clarinet) signals the love theme; a dulcet clarinet melody rides over piano triplets and soars with violin alone before the piano returns with neoclassical underpinnings. A hard 4/4 piano ostinato (with added sforzando final beats) brings forth playfully rumbling dance figures, with linear echoes of Eastern Europe. A rolling clarinet figure, picked up by piano and violin, carries the piece to a bold, satisfying conclusion. List’s serene celebration of “the oneness of all living beings.” like that of the Aborigines, aims at preserving ancestral heritage, in this case by revisiting honored traditions within European classical music.

Music Web International

CD Review: Montage Music Society Starry Night Project

Review by Oleg Ledeniov

The work that ends the disc - or, I better say, crowns it - is Andrew List's Noa Noa: A Gauguin Tableau for violin, clarinet and piano. The three eternal questions of Gauguin's picture - Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? - are interpreted by the composer "as representing three facets of human consciousness". I hope the Mahlerites won't kill me if I describe the parts as "What the body tells me" (aggressive, determined, forceful - our Past), "What the mind tells me" (ever-changing, fluent, searching - our Present), and "What the soul tells me" (spiritual, peaceful, and blissfully beautiful - hopefully, our Future). This last movement is sublime. It also serves as an answer to the unsettling questions of the first track, the Starry Night by Gauguin's friend van Gogh. If you know these moments when the music ends and you stay in silent awe and then exhale "Aaah!.." - this is one of them.

Fanfare Magazine
April 2010

CD Review: Montage Music Society Starry Night Project

Both Harris’s Starry Night suite and Andrew List’s Gauguin-inspired Noa Noa, in fact, constitute some of the finest chamber music of recent vintage I know. Each of Harris’s seven, three-to-four minute movements is well crafted, exudes character, and stimulates the imagination. Noa Noa by Boston-based composer List was commissioned especially for Montage Music Society. Scored for piano, clarinet, and violin, it combines the lush textures redolent of a tropical landscape with the neoclassical scoring of a Ravel with the vibrant colors of Gauguin to create a work to which I will surely return often. In some intangible way, List has captured the essence of Gauguin’s grand tableau Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? to a greater extent than any other composer on this program, save perhaps a couple of Harris’s interpretations.

Boston Musical Intelligencer
August 2010

Review by Vance R. Koven

The first half closed with List’s Six Bagatelles for String Trio, performed by Mills and Feldman with Marka Gustavsson on viola. The composer, who teaches at Berklee College of Music in Boston, introduced the work from the stage and stressed his desire to create six little pieces with maximum contrast ranging from “in your face” to “other-worldly.” In this he has largely succeeded: the first bagatelle (he has taken his concept and title from Beethoven and Webern, with a musical style that effectively splits the considerable difference between them) is an introduction, very brief, pitting forceful rhythmic motifs in two instruments in tritone intervals against a more lyrical, though expressionistically intense, idea in the other. In this, there seemed to us to be unacknowledged elements of Bartók.

The second piece, “Canon,” did not sound like an absolutely strict one, but it achieved the effect of sober austerity one often associates with exercises in that form, before a surprisingly and perhaps playfully abrupt petering out.

The third, “Soliloquy,” highlights the viola in a keening, mournful melody accompanied by sustained notes, largely in harmonics. The only breach in the regimen of contrast came with the fourth and fifth pieces, “Interlude” and “Arioso,” which seemed rather similar in affect, with some virtuoso slippery harmonics especially well brought off by Feldman.

The finale saw the return of material from the first number, bringing the entire work to a rounded conclusion, and earning the performers and composer well-deserved applause.


CD Review: Montage Society Starry Night Project

Review by Laurence Vittes

Andrew Lists’s Noa Noa, inspired by a monumental tableau by Gauguin, is the most purely joyous and exuberant music on the program.

American Record Guide
November/December 2009

CD Review: Montage Society Starry Night Project

Finally comes Andrew List with another trio for clarinet, violin, and piano describing in three movements a Gauguin mural titled Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? This is another extended work of great beauty.

New Music Connoisseur
Spring/Summer 2005

Kalistos Chamber Orchestra
April 24, 2005, Edward M. Pickman Hall, Longy School of Music, Cambridge, MA, USA

Review by David Cleary

The Violin Concerto (2004) is one of Andrew List's finest compositions. Like the McDonald, it relies on structures both nonstandard and telling as well as a deftly elucidated sound world that is scalar yet non-triadic. Motivically, the music is as tight as a weight-lifter's muscles. Scoring is vibrant and instrumental writing idiomatic. And the work unfolds in a manner both logical and inventive. In short, it's a terrific entry well worth revisiting. Read more...

New Music Connoisseur

Duo Diorama: Minghuan Xu (violin) Winston Choi (piano)
May 1, 2005, Edward M. Pickman Hall, Longy School of Music, Cambridge, MA, USA

Review by David Cleary

Andrew List's Fantasy for Violin and Piano (2004) possess a scale-based sound world beholden to Debussy and Copland but does not have an old-fashioned structure. List's Fantasy employs a loosely articulated yet palpable ABCA construct that contains attractively showy virtuosic material. Read more...

New Music Connoisseur
Summer 2003

Daniel Schene Pianist
February 27, 2003, Tsai Performance Center, Boston Universit,y Boston, MA USA 

Review by David Cleary

Sonata Nr. 2 “Elegy for September 11th” by Andrew List was the largest and most ambitious of the recent works heard.  It also employed the most dissonant harmonic language, though was tonally focused enough to admit stacked perfect fourth material, octatonic scalar fragments, scalar figurations and jazzy upper tertian sonorities.  There is much to commend here especially in the humorous yet intense scherzo and the expressive slow movement and finale coda the last of which is warmly heartfelt without being maudlin.

The Warebrook Contemporary Music Festival,
Irasburg Vt. USA

Six Bagatelles for String Trio, performed by The Concordia String Trio
Frederic Bednarz (violin), Leslie Perna (viola), Darry Dolezal (cello)

Review by William Anderson, July 2003

Andrew List’s Six Bagatelles for String Trio was one of the most striking works I’ve heard by a young composer in many years.  Remembering George Crumb’s beautiful overtone filigree in Voice of the Whale, I was struck by List’s use of a similar technique in his Bagatelles, but he did no stop at one level of scrutiny of his overtone material.  A one-dimensional presentation of that material would render it mere effect, decoration. List let that material be effect and decoration momentarily, offering the benefits of effect and decoration their due, as we don’t scorn sumptuous decorations and wonderful effects; but he probed, examined and developed that material in various surprising and always interesting ways and at various speeds.  By taking us through this development, he demonstrated that what is offered at first as sumptuous may prove in the end to be both sumptuous and portentous. And so, as much as we are true hedonists and epicureans, we find ourselves, nevertheless, after the work is all over, no longer mere hedonists, but remade, malleable, and awaiting further growth and transformation.  The piece should be performed often and recorded so we may get to know it still better.




Copyright © 2006 Andrew List. All rights reserved.