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“The highpoint of the evening was a new Bassoon Concerto by Alex Taylor, written for and admirably played by Ben Hoadley. Using more or less the same soundworld as Bartok (apart from piano and celesta), Taylor coupled his usual attention to tight and cohesive form with a new emotional range and openness.

Three slow movements contributed to this, including the third, titled Trudge – ironically so, considering Hoadley’s heart-melting expressivity, set against a dark, minimal palette.”

– William Dart, New Zealand Herald

 

“Alex Taylor’s Attention had its orchestral finesse acoustically blunted, but Taylor’s punch-in-the-guts collage of political idiocy and post-Blam Blam Blam rhetoric still hit its target. Devenie, with Muldoon drawl and clown’s costume, played it to the hilt, right down to the final megaphone assault.”

–          William Dart, New Zealand Herald

 

“NZTrio has every right to be very proud of its latest commission, Alex Taylor’s burlesques mecaniques, and they delivered it accordingly. The young composer’s prologue (marked “dark and seedy”) introduced a line-up of wittily skewed dances, setting off in skittish ragtime. The most alluring was a spanner in which Ashley Brown’s “habanera” cello held its ground against clustering rhythmic distractions. Tumbledry, thanks to Watkins, offered a few seconds of boogie-woogie fury, and yet gas/sisyphus dispensed airier beauties over malevolent stalkings.”

–          William Dart, New Zealand Herald

 

“175 East is unflinchingly contemporary. The first commission, Alex Taylor’s Figments, with its teasingly cerebral programme note, featured the composer’s customarily intricate, spidery textures. Various knotty details added character and incident, relished by the musicians. Bass clarinet made a scampering dash over pizzicato strings; here and there, the occasional tonal sliver cut through the all-surrounding dissonance.”

–          William Dart, New Zealand Herald

 

“Shore’s decision to have live music is a masterstroke and to be able to call on a young composer of the talent of Alex Taylor (keyboards) to compose and create a soundscape for the work is a bonus for us all. I last saw, and heard, Taylor in After Lilburn, a highlight of the recent Pride Festival, and he was wonderful in that as well. Store his name away because you’ll hear a lot more of, and from, him in the years to come.”

–          Lexie Matheson, Theatreview [on Sam Shore’s 2013 production of Cloud 9 by Caryl Churchill]

 

“spacious, pensive music”

–          Lynn Pringle, Theatreview [on Brendan Bradshaw’s choreography to [inner]]

 

“It’s like glass disintegrating. It’s graceful. It’s searching. It’s suspenseful and it’s hard. Each piece is a story well-told, taking you through a similar kind of emotional trajectory as a fully-formed narrative. In the case of [Inner], it’s fear you feel. Then dread, intense longing, relief.”

–          Rosabel Tan, The Pantograph Punch

 

“At 26, Alex Taylor is one of our highest flying young composers.

In 2012 he won the SOUNZ Contemporary Award and will be hearing his new Bassoon Concerto only days after returning from this year’s Asian Composers League Festival in Tokyo.

“Alex just loves the bassoon,” says Hoadley. “This is the fifth piece of his that I’ve played,” reminding me of the solo Loose Knots that he took to the International Double Reed Society Conference in California last year (a video of Hoadley playing the piece can be found on sounz.org.nz/works/show/21134).

The new concerto has none of the grungy multiphonics that pepper the solo work.

“It’s written within a more conservative framework. It’s very romantic and luscious, with huge extended phrases that mean I’ve been having to practise every single day. Alex understands me,” he reflects. “It’s like the work is laying out my life and there are some passages in the third movement that I can really relate to. We may have connected earlier on; now I feel we’ve really found each other.”

– William Dart, New Zealand Herald

 

“Alex Taylor’s reworking of Purcell’s overture, starting with plaintive bassoon and viola and ending with an Allegro bustle that leapt at us through meaty piano chords, launched an hour of unfailing invention with a postmodernist bent.

Taylor had described this as “a rollicking hoon of an adventure” and his score wore its borrowings easily, from Stravinsky and Beyonce to Klaus Nomi and Bill Evans.”

– William Dart, New Zealand Herald

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