Reviews: “…but not simpler…”

We set up this page to index reviews of Tod Machover’s CD “…but not simpler…”. Please let us know if you come across others. Thank you!
Machover CD an “absolutely stunning experience” – “Machover’s exquisite attention to line and form is most evident in the trio of splendid short works for string quartet…” In “Jeux Deux“, “Machover utilizes his “hyperpiano” concept, in which the grand piano, played with consummate sensitivity by Paul Chertock, interacts with the Yamaha Disklavier in a way that augments, transforms and splinters the music, sometimes releasing a volley of pre-composed notes in greater profusion and rapidity than a live pianist could possibly play them. The result is an absolutely stunning experience for performer and listener alike.”
Gramophone – Review of the CD “…but not simpler…” – “Among the inventions that take sound to previously unexplored terrain are his Hyperinstruments and Hyperorchestra, which promote sonic variety and boost virtuosity. Rather than gimmicks, these advances have crucial and winning impacts on the expressive possibilities in Machover’s music, as can be heard on this absorbing disc. Unless you’ve heard this composer’s music before, you’ve never experienced anything like these pieces.” – Review of Tod Machover’s …but not simpler… – “…Machover never loses sight of the emotional side of music that engages the listener naturally, viscerally…For anyone who is tempted to dismiss all modern music as “strange” or inaccessible, this album will prove him or her wrong. Machover seems to have struck the right balance between conceptual art and music at its purest level of feeling.”
New Music Connoisseur – Andrew Violette review “…but not simpler…” (PDF) – “Sparkler (2007) sparkles. There’s a wealth of color-drenched details: virtuosic wind passages juxtaposed with high string sonorities and untuned metallic percussion…” “.. .but not simpler (2005) is a stringent 15 minute work for string quartet. lt stylistically veers toward the Peter Maxwell Davies Naxos Quartets. But Machover’s writing is more gesturally nuanced and harmonically colorful…” “What impresses are those non-glamorous, essential and not easily acquired skills which are rarely discussed in The New York Times but which Mr. Machover possesses in abundance: skills such as the ability to create resonant sonorities; a seasoned sense of the long line and the long form; a knowing use of economy of means; and a firm grip on Fux counterpoint.”
Fanfare – Feature Reviews by David DeBoor Canfield (scroll down) – “The recent works on the Bridge CD seem to me to veer into masterpiece territory, achieving a synthesis and fluency of styles that yield a remarkably personal voice.”

Audiophile Audition – TOD MACHOVER: ‘…but not simpler…’ & other works – Bridge Records – “I knew just enough about the work of Tod Machover to have a generally positive opinion and to think that I knew his “style” with its heavy reliance on electronics (as one writer declared him to be “America’s most wired composer.”) However, I am grateful for hearing this album and learning more about the very complex but fascinating nature of his work. ”

NPR Weekend Edition: From Hyperpianos To Harmonious Handel: New Classical Albums “MIT futurologist Tod Machover rethinks traditional instruments, coming up with new things like the hyperpiano; Pianist Michael Chertock gives it a go in an explosive excerpt [of “Jeux Deux”].”

Sequenza21 – Tod Machover: …but not simpler… “The string quartet portion of the disc is very well handled. Two interludes, one based on Bach and the other on Byrd, are fixed media pieces meant to sound like an augmented string quartet. The textures to both of these pieces is interesting and each interlude matches up well with the following acoustic piece. The timbre of the instruments does have an edge to it that denies a purely acoustic origin. Instead of the thickening texture emerging as a surprise, an unexpected moment of “I thought I was listening to just four people,” that virtual instrument sound serves as an aural obligation for the work to build into something that the performers alone could not create.
When Machover is entirely acoustic, the pieces work quite well. The 3 Hyper-Dim-Sums are charming miniatures for string quartet, played with vigor and nuance by the iO Quartet. …but not simpler… transitions beautifully from the Byrd interlude and continues to be colorful and engaging. Machover certainly knows color and he uses all means of string sounds in this floating 14 minute movement.”

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