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What the Critics Say

Articles and Reviews


Amy Rubin: composer/pianist

What the Critics Say

about “Hallelujah Games”

from Sonoloco Record Reviews:

“Amy Rubin is a composer of many guises, many stylistic venues...she lets all those traditions filter through her personality and the result is manifold and varied but with a distinct Rubin feel to it.”

“the music is delicate, dancing, fairytale - like”

“absolute music touching your intellectual and emotional strings”

“atmospheric with an impressionistic luster; beautiful displays of overtones, in a prismic splendor”

“like glass at times, clear, transparent, cool...rendering a personal sophistication inside an encoded environment”

“hypnotically repeated cross rhythms”

“inner visions or remembrances....translating into audible vibrations”

“styles and their offspring fashions and trends mean very little to her. She keeps on keeping on, like Bob Dylan put it.”

From 21st Century Music:

“Just how important is stylistic continuity? Not very, when you're Amy Rubin, and you're good at just about everything. Hallelujah Games, the opening work in the identically named release from Mode, is a bang-on post-minimal post-pop essay for marimba and piano. While the piece is meant to address ‘the ongoing effects of colonialism in Africa,’ it is no surprise that the sounds bespeak of her familiarity with Reich's muse: the music of Ghana.

Whose America?, on the other hand, has an earlier African/New Yorker melding in mind. These texts "The Farewell of a Virginia Slave Mother to her Daughters Sold into Southern Bondage," "Brother of the Ku Klux Klan," and "Grandma's Song" mine a updated vein of African-American music which inspired George Gershwin.

Trifocals for flute, clarinet, and bassoon, and Journey for flute and piano are new-music marriages with Caribbean and Turkish music respectively, with emphasis on the new-music. Rubin's short piano works tell of soulful jazz, languid Satie, a certain almost-cinematic romanticism, and classical dignity. In Two-Train Toccata, Rubin leaves us with a nice minimalist neoclassic puzzle:

Train X leaves San Francisco heading east at a speed of 95 miles an hour. Train Y leaves New York going west a s speed of 110 miles an hour. Where and when will they pass each other? Is this likely, given that speeds tend to be faster in the West? And what about mountains? Assuming no stops, perhaps the next day in Nebraska… would be a long haul of a piece, that. This is a worth journey that can occupy tracks beside Glass, Honegger, Reich and Villa-Lobos.

Rubin winds up close to where she began, with a brief marimba two-player piece entitled Mallet Cycles. Like Reich, here's another composer who finds that marimba and minimalism go hand in hand, hands on sticks, and hands-down handily.”

from “Classics Today”:

“Spiked with blues, jazz, African drumming patterns and Latin dance rhythms... Rubin’s music is appealing and often playful.”

“Her intricate passagework spins out like a nimble improvisation. Soprano Christine Schadeberg, flutist Kathleen Nester, and marimba player join her as magnificent partners.”

about the “Rubin-Clement Dialogues”

from the “NewMusicBox” ; chosen as one of top choices of the month:

“Composer/pianists Amy Rubin and Dawn Clement combine forces to extend the pianos already complex sonic capabilities. These two infuse the music with a certain shimmering energy through both their playing and composing.”

about “Like Ships That Pass”

from “The New Music Connoissieur” :

“There is magic and enchantment.and a particularly colorful palette. Behind Ms. Rubin’s syncopated melodies is a delicate, intelligent structure, and the music delights. The piece breathed life and vitality. Way to go!”

about “La Loba”

from “Fanfare”:

“free and fearless in her ability to synthesize different materials, open and fluent in her use of various media.”

“highly accessible in its infectious tune and rhythms”.

from “The Tab” :

“The selections are north of the border... the most successful of them, Rubin’s jaunty “La Loba” in which the composer joins the the quintet on piano, is heavily influenced by Latin sound and sensibility.”

from “The Daily Freeman” :

“Amy Rubin is a pianist, composer and instrument. If she didn’t write music she would dance it, which anyhow, she does as an electrified medium, jolted by percussive-melodic contact with the keyboard.”

“a primal, tripled-faceted genius”.

about “One World”

from “The New York Times” :

“She manages to bring world cultures stretch familiar images into fresh perspectives...presenting landscapes that we already know but that are transformed by unusual palettes.”

from “The Computer Music Journal”

“The most virtuosic performance of the day was turned in by Amy Rubin, whose keyboard performance of her “One World” was a smorgasbord of mixed meters, polyrhythms and references to many Third World rhythms, timbres, and forms within the context of the composer’s Western sensibility.”