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Archives

24 Sep 2016 Guerilla Opera’s 2016 production of Loose, Wet, Perforated

3 Aug 2016 Acacia Quartet’s performance of The Law Of The Tongue

20 Feb 2016 Tall Poppies’ release of A King’s Manifesto

24 Jun 2015 Callithumpian Consort’s performance of Dysart’s Changelings

1 Jun 2015 Move Records’ release of Uncanny Valley

1 Dec 2014 Navona Records’ release of Torrid Nature Scenes

10 Apr 2014 Syzygy Ensemble’s performance of Economy of Wax

15 Mar 2014 Halcyon’s performance of A King’s Manifesto

2 Jun 2013 counter)induction’s performance of Rustling the Deities

28 Jun 2012 Maarten Stragier’s performance of Les Effaceurs

1 Oct 2011 Radius Ensemble’s performance of Obsidian Magnified

16 Sep 2011 Guerilla Opera’s 2011 production of Loose, Wet, Perforated

16 Mar 2011 WordSong’s performance of Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock

24 Jul 2010 Tanglewood Music Center’s Piece-A-Day Project (Parnell’s Gloom, O’Connell’s Pig, Jury’s Din)

21 Jan 2010 Callithumpian Consort’s performance of Triplex Mobilis & Torrid Nature Scene

9 Nov 2009 Ensemble Offspring’s performance of The Origin Cycle (Economy of Wax)

7 Aug 2009 Halcyon’s performance of Torrid Nature Scene

15 Jun 2009 Callithumpian Consort’s performance of Firestick

10 Jun 2008 Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Three Scenes From Suburbia

22 Mar 2008 Sydney Philharmonia’s performance of Dies Irae

23 Aug 2006 Chambermade Opera’s production of The Hive

22 May 1998 BT Scottish Ensemble’s performance of The Underside Revealed

 

Guerilla Opera’s 2016 production of Loose, Wet, Perforated

24 September 2016

 

The New England Theatre Geek, 22 September 2016, Kitty Drexel

“… a multimedia opera ripe with intimate oddity.

… a strange but moderately elegant little beastie… also an unexpected laugh riot… his characters are dealing out Trumpian levels of logic convolution to an not entirely innocent audience. It’s a timely production ready to push buttons.” 

 

Boston Classical Review, 22 September 2016, Aaron Keebaugh

“No work stands out quite like Nicholas P. Vines’ Loose, Wet, Perforated… Eerie, dark, and thoughtful, Vines’ work made for an experience unlike any other.

… The story, part comedy and part tragedy, poses difficult philosophical questions that are relevant today…

Vines’ colorful music fills the grim story with a sense of unease… conveying the same sort of haunting unfamiliarity one encounters in the music of Harrison Birtwistle.”

 

The Boston Musical Intelligencer, 26 September 2016, Steven Ledbetter

“Guerilla’s Modern Morality Play Triumphs… as a theater piece, it “went,” holding our attention throughout.”

Acacia Quartet’s performance of The Law Of The Tongue

3 August 2016

 

classikON, 1 August 2016, Daniel Kaan

“… [The work] changed the view of the harbour to be black and menacing… There was never a dull moment, my attention was riveted at all times.”

 

Sydney Arts Guide, 3 August 2016, Paul Nolan

“Vines’ exciting four movement work masterfully uses the intensity of the string quartet genre and the timbre of individual instruments to recreate images and action. Mastering the composer’s very modern, challenging and personal performance techniques, Acacia Quartet brought to life the  routine savagery of the whaling industry in this country in a  confronting narrative.

Modern string effects heard in much new music were extended to include Vines’ unique and arresting vocabulary of gesture. At all times Acacia Quartet captivated us as they captured the drama and necessary epic storytelling in this compelling species of programme music.

Law Of The Tongue replaced the suggestive gimmickry sometimes found rippling on the surface of lesser programmatic compositions with deep sonic communication as well as spirituality of place and event.”

Tall Poppies’ release of A King’s Manifesto

20 February 2016

 

Sounds Like Sydney, 14 December 2015, Shamistha de Soysa

“The overriding ambience of the songs is calming; the voices shimmer and flow; the word painting is graphic… It has expanded significantly the repertoire of contemporary Australian song, leaving an enduring gift for the future.”

 

The Australian, 20 February 2016, Vincent Plush

“… little gems that caress the ear in beauteous, rhapsodic and reflective sounds… a beguiling sampler of recent Australian music and a testament to 15 years of Halcyon music-making.”

Callithumpian Consort’s performance of Dysart’s Changelings

24 June 2015

 

The Boston Globe, 17 June 2015, Matthew Guerrieri

“… the night’s most in-your-face music, and also (or, perhaps, therefore) the most arresting… the music mixed brawn with bright haze, filling in power chords with squalls of bristling accents, scales, and murmurs. But Vines invested both the heavy scaffolding and the modernist graffiti with equal grandeur. The positions diverged, but, in its all-enveloping emphasis, the debate created its own harmony.”

Move Records’ release of Uncanny Valley

1 June 2015

 

The Music Trust, 1 June 2015, Gordon Kerry

“Gyger’s is a hard act to follow but Nicholas Vines does so more than creditably in his Uncanny Valley… a substantial work of theme and variations. Vines’s music has a playful quality not in huge supply in new music… which is by no means to deny that his is a work of great amplitude… [He] is inclined to play off traditional piano sounds against those of extended techniques to great dramatic effect.”

 

O’Connell the Music, 16 Sep 2016, Clive O’Connell 

“… The style of writing suggests a world of references – at one point, Boulez without the dynamic leaps; later, a whiff of Cowell and a smidgen of Nancarrow; the grandfather figure of Cage presiding over it all…   a near-Messiaenic ecstasy that makes a vividly affirmative conclusion…” 

Navona Records’ release of Torrid Nature Scenes

1 December 2014

 

babysue (online), June 2013, LMNOP

“If you’re only interested in hearing the safe and familiar sounds of the great masters of centuries past… Torrid Nature Scenes will probably be a bit too strange for you.”

Nicholas Vines is a composer of a different sort whose music lies somewhere in the area where classical meets experimental and modern classical. Although very different in overall sound, some of the ideas on this album remind us of Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels. These compositions are unpredictable and, for the most part, peculiar.”

“This bizarre listening experience is recommended for classical fans wanting something a bit more exotic and adventurous. Very cool.”

 

Audiophile Audition (online), 28 June  2013, Daniel Coombs

“(Vines’) music is wildly creative and entertaining. It may take a listen or two to begin to get into his offerings but, ultimately, they are vivid, cheeky, sometimes amusing and always unique.”

“This album gives us a good introduction to his unique vision… a highly entertaining and rather wild ride…”

Torrid Nature Scene is nearly indescribable but a lot of fun to listen to… suitably exotic in places and nearly nightmarish in others… the total effect is compelling, nearly surreal.”

“… a wildly creative vision of a new type of ‘classical’ music that is not afraid to echo jazz improvisation, elements of an older formalism and just about “anything goes.” I think this does require some careful, patient listening but you will be at least impressed with the impulsive creativity and sound painting.”

 

Anearful (online), 10 August 2013, Jeremy Shatan

“… In July 2010, I heard a fascinating work by Australian composer Nicholas Vines called Economy Of Wax…”

“… Now for those of you who see Schoenberg’s forbidding and humourless face when you hear the words “contemporary classical,” relax. Vines is anything but humourless…”

“… The Butcher Of Brisbane shows its hilarious, if unsettling, hand early on… Overall, the 22 minute piece is a fast moving delight with enough twists and turns to keep a listener on their toes…”

“…[Economy of Wax is] a blazing little piece, a remarkable coming together of the worlds of science and music, and the lives of humans and apians. Here’s hoping The Origin Cycle gets a full New York City premiere one of these days…”

“… The dynamics of the different movements and the interaction between the two singers gives Torrid Nature Scene a distinct theatrical flavor. This is obviously an area of interest for Vines, and one at which he excels. His lively imagination, mastery of scoring for a variety of instruments, and structural gravitas all make him well suited to telling stories through music…”

 

Limelight Magazine, 26 September 2013, Ilario Colli

“… surprisingly good – damn good, in fact.”

“All three works are rich in atmospheric soundscapes, gestural impact, complex rhythmic overlaying, and fresh thematic ideas. Particularly impressive is the album’s title work,

Torrid Nature Scene… [which] captivates from beginning to end, bathing us in ever-evolving textures, and steering us through a series of lush, mystical and sweeping soundworlds.”

“I would dare to call [Vines] one of the most promising Australian composers of his generation… In the words Mozart uttered when he allegedly heard a young Beethoven play, “Remember this boy’s name.””

 

Kathodik (online), 28 December 2013, Philip Focosi

“… hot complexity… [expressive] not only of musical structure, but also of life itself…”

“… telluric and labyrinthine: a real lava-flow of mixed emotions.”

 

Judith Weir, Master of the Queen’s Music, quoted in Limelight Magazine, December 2014

“… – recommended!”

Syzygy Ensemble’s performance of Economy of Wax

10 April 2014

 

Partial Durations, 11 April 2014, Matthew Lorenzon

“The ensemble’s intensity only increased as they tackled [Economy of Wax]… The instruments buzz with a sort of autonomy, each regurgitating enough musical ideas for a lifetime of composition.”

 

The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 April 2014, Clive O’Connell

“… a jagged setting… and the night’s most uncompromising work: focused and dense.”

Halcyon’s performance of A King’s Manifesto

15 March 2014

 

The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 March 2014, Peter McCallum

“… Vines’ gently humorous, metaphoric A King’s Manifesto presented gently melismatic vocal writing against idle instruments interrupted by percussion as though they had hit a bump.”

counter)induction’s performance of Rustling the Deities

2 June 2013

 

The New York Times, 4 June 2013, Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim

“It was an odd menagerie that slithered, swam and fluttered onto the gallery floor… a showcase for vivid, engrossing and highly communicative new chamber music.”

Rustling the Deities… proved a riveting vehicle for Mr. Fingland’s dazzling technique, while harnessing a certain ribald, wild energy that aptly conveyed images of satyrs reveling, rhyton in hand.”

Maarten Stragier’s performance of Les Effaceurs

28 June 2012

 

NewMusicBox, 28 June 2012, Matthew Guerrieri

“…  a razor-wire collection of prepared guitar bells, scurrying runs, and virtuosic excursions… realized with uncanny ease.”

Radius Ensemble’s performance of Obsidian Magnified

1 October 2011

 

The Boston Musical Intelligencer, 2 October 2011, David Patterson

“… A name becoming increasingly familiar to Boston audiences is that of Nicholas Vines, the young gifted Australian composer…”

“… [Sarah] Brady and violinist Jae Young Cosmos Lee conveyed unreservedly the awesomeness of the fast and furious, the heart-jabbing punches and longer tidal wave-like crashes that mark Obsidian Magnified. They were sensational. I felt these remarkably powerful signals emitted from this composition…”

Guerilla Opera’s 2011 production of Loose, Wet, Perforated

16 September 2011

 

The Boston Phoenix, 20 September 2011, Lloyd Schwartz

“ … Nicholas Vines is a compellingly original composer, and his new Loose, Wet, Perforated…is full of fascinating music. An eerie prelude and two extended interludes… both grabbed and held my attention with their smooth, slippery seductiveness and surprising but well-timed percussive punctuation. I could never predict what I’d hear next…”

 
NewMusicBox, 28 September 2011, Matthew Guerrieri

“ … The plot seemed to want to channel the genre’s capacity for moral scolding while satirizing it at the same time. ..”

“… The music… was terrific—kitchen-sink expressionism, edgy, bright, and entertaining as hell. Vines makes an unlikely four-player orchestra—clarinet, saxophone, trombone, and percussion—pay seemingly endless dividends. .. it certainly carried the listener through… in cracking style.”

 

The Tufts Daily, 6 October 2011, Zoey Turek

“… Loose, Wet, Perforated breaks barriers as modern morality play…”

“ … [Loose, Wet, Perforated] does a surprisingly good job of accurately mirroring America’s current socio-political atmosphere without making the comparisons feel heavy-handed… a tongue-in-cheek representation of capitalism…”

“… the musicians use composer Nicholas Vines’s inventive score to far exceed the traditional confines of their instruments. The music is so unusual that at times it is difficult to determine whether a sound was being made by a voice or an instrument, which lends an eerie quality to the chaotic albeit melodious score…”

“… the ambiguity of the characters’ genders forces the audience to drop all pre-conceived notions of gender roles and sexual constructs…”

“ … [Loose, Wet, Perforated] comes highly recommended to all lovers of modern opera.”

 

ArtSceNE – WGBH, 14 November 2011, Arthur Smith

“… oddly titled, but engrossing…”

“… This may seem like heavy freight, but in fact, Vines brings a light touch: certainly the opera is thought-provoking and philosophical, but it’s also funny and even sexy. It reveals a young composer with a sure hand for handling text…”

“… alternately broad and subtle shifts in register… ingenious repetition and variation in both musical and dramatic terms…”

“… [“Why must I climb the greasy pole?” is] perhaps not something to elaborate on much further in a general audience Web site. I’ll leave it at noting that the intended effects—both humorous and unsettling—come off perfectly…”

“…sense of both dire medieval times and twenty-first century wit… “

WordSong’s performance of Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock

16 March 2011

 

The Boston Musical Intelligencer, 16 March 2011, Susan Miron

“… a fun melodrama… spooky in its own way.”

Tanglewood Music Center’s Piece-A-Day Project (Parnell’s Gloom, O’Connell’s Pig, Jury’s Din)

24 July 2010

 

The Boston Musical Intelligencer, 25 July 2010, Mary Wallace Davidson

“I hope that… these composers will hang on to and develop the germs of musical ideas generated here. I felt privileged to experience this stage of their blossoming.”

“Vines’ O’Connell’s Pig was almost descriptive: gentle rollicking, punctuated by percussive pig sounds in the double bass.”

“So watch for these composers… to come your way. They have a strong voice, and know how to achieve its expression.”

Callithumpian Consort’s performance of Triplex Mobilis & Torrid Nature Scene

21 January 2010

 

The Boston Globe, 25 January 2010, David Weininger

“ …[Triplex Mobilis was] airy, open and engaging…”

“ ….[Torrid Nature Scene has] a luxuriant instrumental background… moments of arresting beauty…”

 

The Boston Musical Intelligencer, 23 January 2010, Mary Wallace Davidson

“ …[Triplex Mobilis was] most engaging, and deserves another hearing soon.”

“….[Torrid Nature Scene was] a tough piece that left the audience sitting for a while instead of rushing to leave.”

Ensemble Offspring’s performance of The Origin Cycle (Economy of Wax)

9 November 2009

 

The Sydney Morning Herald, 21-22 November 2009, Peter McCallum

“ … Nicholas Vines’s Economy of Wax wriggled nervously … This was a beautifully conceived and executed project, extending one’s mind out of usual listening habits to apprehend music and art within the vastness of nature’s patterns. “

 

Time Out: Sydney, November 2009, Jason Catlett

“ … Vines’ piece … has a lattice structure analogous to the honeycomb’s hexagons, using an harmonic rhythm in the ratio of 6:1; and just as Darwin’s illustrated the principle of natural selection across dozens of plant and animal examples, Vines uses ‘a single melody over and over again in a whole variety of different ways’ … “

Halcyon’s performance of Torrid Nature Scene

7 August 2009

 

RealTime (online), Oct-Nov 2009, Keith Gallasch

“ … Vines said he thought “lush” was not a word typically associated with Australia, but that he wanted to create “a febrile density” in his work, and so he does. The text, a poem by Andrew Robbie, is already dense with ideas and images … After the opening Wagnerian flourish we are introduced to a sonic world that is certainly lush, rich in operatic soaring, quackings, glides, post-orgasmic gasps, relished words chewed over, and ringing, starry bursts of voices and ensemble as one. In memorable, intense, sustained passages for one singer, the other counters with an undercurrent of noises evocative of nature and the body’s own musical otherworld. Torrid Nature Scene is almost overwhelmingly dense on a first hearing, but its strange beauties are many (its hyper-literary text best left impressionistic) … “

 

2MBS FM Fine Music, October 2009, Shamistha de Soysa

“ … His music is innovative, thoughtful and is a sincere attempt at describing 21st century society and the Australian ethos … [Torrid Nature Scene] is a frenetic, boisterous romp which endeavours to challenge contemporary attitudes towards the senses and the body …”

 

The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 August 2009, Peter McCallum

“ … Nicholas Vines describes his Torrid Nature Scene for two sopranos … as a ‘squelchy, lusty romp’, though part of its fascination lay in the way the rhythms, contrived words and artifice of style in Andrew Robbie’s text kept moving away just as one was about to grasp it: think Lewis Carroll with a PhD in semiotics.

Vines’s music was full, extravagant and wild, as though it was an accomplice in undermining the listener’s attempt to tame it. One sometimes had the impression one was being outwitted in conversation by two clever young men. “

Callithumpian Consort’s performance of Firestick

15 June 2009

 

The Arts Fuse (online), 18 June 2009, Caldwell Titcomb

“ … The opening section proved really exciting. … Especially striking was the periodic punctuation by whip-stick blows. The sizeable audience led the composer to take two bows … “

Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Three Scenes From Suburbia

10 June 2008

 

Time Out: Sydney (online), October 2008, Jason Catlett

“ … a new symphonic work about… an idealised shopping centre, raised to the mythical heights of Wagner’s Valhalla or Verdi’s Egypt. ”

“ Traffic lights and overgrown gardens were evoked by Vines’ lush and sometimes raucous score, about which Gill expressed both mild bewilderment and strong enthusiasm. “

“ If a soundtrack were ever needed for Patrick White’s festering depictions of suburbia, Vines has it down already. “

Sydney Philharmonia’s performance of Dies Irae

22 March 2008

 

The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 Tuesday March 2008, Peter McCallum

“… the work’s expressive goal had some deliberately disruptive elements, working against its own grain to undermine its rhetoric. Vines has constructed a large processional canvas, a parade of gestures whose members keep contradicting each other… A degree of chaos and hubbub is part of the idea, an aspect that was well established… Vines comes across as a composer engaged with thoughtful aesthetic ideas.”

Chambermade Opera’s production of The Hive

23 August 2006

 

 The Australian, 29 August 2006, Peter Burch

“With this world premiere season of Nicholas Vines’s The Hive, his first commission by ChamberMade, the company is reaffirming its importance in Melbourne’s musical life.”

“Vines has prepared a notable score for Sejavka’s text… The Hive allows the singers to perform unencumbered by Vines’s instrumental scoring and their voices to be heard clearly…”

 

The Australian, 18 August 2006

“…a serious young insect with a Harvard scholarship…”

“Their methods complemented each other: Vines’s ‘obsessive, almost scientific way of working’, paired with Sejavka’s ‘obssessive, unscientific’ ways.”

 

The Age, 26 August 2006, John Slavin

“The individual voices weave beautifully through the a cappella singing reminiscent of Britten’s War Requiem.”

“…clever score…”

 

The Herald Sun, 29 August 2006, Chris Boyd

“Here’s the thing. I liked every single atom of this opera…”

“The scoring for piano (from a glittering, unresolved, Keith Jarrett-like rave to a most dramatic string plucking by the second musician) is extraordinary”

 

MelbourneStage (online), 29 August 2006,  Carol Middleton

View article

“…beautifully scored…”

The Hive ranges in mood from the sublime to the comic.”

 

 Vibewire (online), 30 August 2006, Hang Trinh

View article

“Captivating, boundless and clever”

“Credit must be given to the entire cast and crew of Chambermade’s The Hive, who produced a succinct and multi-layered production and managed to breathe life into this potentially linear play.”

“If you’re after fluffy and superficial entertainment, don’t see The Hive.”

“All in all, opera at its finest”

 

Realtime (online),  Chris Reid  

“ In contrast to much other opera, The Hive is cerebral, discursive and philosophical rather than romantic or dramatic.”

“ Vines’ score is fresh, lyrical and suitably edgy, ably supporting the unfolding dialogue.”

“ As an opera, The Hive is a work with great potential.”

BT Scottish Ensemble’s performance of The Underside Revealed

22 May 1998

 

Herald Scotland, 23 May 1998, Elizabeth Clark

“ A clever showpiece for viola… [employing] the 60s technique of spatial displacement… Drama then was the focal point of the piece, though there was some nice string writing, particularly in the slow middle section, lyrically voiced by viola over a gentle rocking accompaniment.”