A grand finale was provided by Bruce Stark, composer of an Ode To 'Ode To Joy'--and it was in this piece that surprising bits of the joyous melody would emerge amidst the frenetic passages of jazz, syncopation, and all kinds of different rhythms.
-Wendy Brazil, ArtSoundFM 92.7 Radio, Australia
Bruce Stark's Ode to 'Ode to Joy' was absolutely the audience favorite of the concert. An odd mixture of variation form and hilarious commentary on the tune combining unexpected mashups of jazz-rock stylings with serious and ecstatic cascades of sound. Lisa Moore thrilled with her precision and phenomenal dramatic buildup to an incredible climax.
(about Five Preludes)
Bruce Stark's music was performed to wonderful effect again in tonight's program. His 5 short pieces further explored how jazz stylings and American folk music influences can be used without merely evoking the achievements of the '50's. The explosive 5th prelude was fascinating in how it simultaneously and without feelings of pastiche evoked both Bartok and Gershwin.
Stark's work has been featured in every concert of the series and for good reason. He has an unusually rare gift in creating a recognizable voice, combining compelling content with forms that make sense and are full of surprises. Winged, one of his first 'acknowledged' compositions did not fail to deliver in all of these regards. Inspired by the notion of flying angels, it began high in the clouds, aloft, shimmering and luminescent. For the full 10 minutes the piece continously explored impressionistic canyons and mountains with often beautifully static moments and without for a moment seeming cloying, minimalist or new-agey. Tatjana Rankovich admirably drove these pianistic ecstasies with aplomb and joy.
-Jeff Harrington, Sequenza21
(on-line contemporary classical music magazine))
Lisa Moore closed her part of the program with Bruce Stark's Ode To 'Ode To Joy' (1997), a fantasy on the theme from the finale of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, couched in jazzy rhythms, rumbling bass figures and a healthy measure of overt virtuosity. It was as if Liszt, while musing on the Beethoven work, were suddenly possessed by the spirit of Art Tatum.
-Allan Kozinn, New York Times
"Stark is an artist of the highest caliber"
- Jim Aikin, Keyboard Magazine
"strikes a rare balance between musical literacy and pure emotion"
- Linda Kohanov, CD Review
"a confident, fresh-voiced composer"
-Daron Hagen, EAR Magazine
"One of the most transparent, elegantly stated, and emotionally deep albums of piano solos since Keith Jarrett's Koln Concerts . . .a pristine and haunting release."
- AUDIO (about Shadow Bright)
"A unique and authentic creation full of complexity, reverence, heart, and ferver."
- Napra Trade Journal
"This recording is one of those delightful head-scratchers that fits into both jazz and classical music. It's refreshing, innovative and polished."
- Harriet Williamson, Asylum (about Song Of Hope)
"Tuesday's program opened with Bruce Stark's Fugue, a cool, ultra-precise composition whose extended, winding motifs, exchanged from player to player, created music that seemed to move in circular crosscurrents through the Bessie Schonberg Theater."
- Stephen Holden, The New York Times
"In listening to this music I re-discovered that the beautiful world of solo piano has no limit. Bruce Stark says he is first a composer and second a pianist, and in this CD you can hear the wonderful synthesis of these two aspects."
- Takashi Kubota, Swing Journal
" . . .gentle mallet percussion sounds and resonances from a musical past. Mr. Stark's Farewell Song shared many of these qualities--offering a duet for vibraphone and piano with languid movement, modal melody and a relish for the sensuousness of sustained decaying tones."
- Bernard Holland, The New York Times