Reviews

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'Concorde'

Hallelujah - (CD)
- (Never..Never...Never..., Lament, Hallelujah)

'I don't think our readers will be buying this cacophanous cd'. (Musical Pointers, 2013)

Lament ­ 'The emotional peaks are continually and effectively subsumed within the variegated textural flow of what could prove a significant addition to the string repertoire'. (Gramophone, August 2013)

Lament – ‘Deeply moving and strongly expressive elegy’. ‘Gripping and often beautiful music’. ‘a writhing bed of layered intensity’.(Music Web International, February 2014)

Hallelujah – ‘An impressive achievement and a powerful statement’. The work shows ‘orchestral mastery’ (Music Web International, February 2014)

'An impressive disc that will hopefully secure Gardner's music the attention it deserves'. (Gramophone, August 2013)

‘Writing that is both spectacular and confiding’. ‘A most distinguished composer who has things to say and who knows how to say them best’. ‘A remarkable orchestral flair’. ‘These superbly crafted works cannot fail to impress through their unquestionable sincerity and honesty’. (Music Web International, February 2014)

'It must blow you away in a live performance; it's still terrifically exciting as a recording'(International Record Review, October 2013)

'his music works on a slow burning fuse, but if it finally detonates, it makes one hell of a bang.'(International Record Review, October 2013)

'I hope it won't be that long before a conductor on this side of The Irish Sea puts on at least Never...Never...Never...in a concert hall and lets a mainland audience feel the thrill of its visceral power.'(International Record Review, October 2013)

Never Never Never
- (for orchestra)

‘A colossal work. The music’s staggeringly relentless rhetoric still packs a fearsome punch’ (Irish Times, Feb 08)

‘Proved a now familiar wrought iron experience’. (Belfast Telegraph, Aug ’07)

‘Gardner could be said to have done for Paisley what the second movement of Shostakovich’s Tenth did for Stalin. The work has a powerful emotional charge.’ (Irish Times, Aug ’05)

Selected as the Irish Times no 1 highlight of the year ‘04

Hallelujah
- for orchestra

‘A believer in the communicative power of music, Gardner manages to make so much new each time. A very taut structure with an overarching concept which is unrelenting in its control of tension. Everything moves seamlessly from point to point throughout the work.’ (JMI, Jan-Feb ’09)

‘ Striking moments of intermittent, peaceful clarity. This work is imbued with sorrow, but also with anger and futility. This is one of his most intense works yet’. (Irish Times, Nov ’08)

Wanting Not Wanting
- for orchestra

‘The work’s opening was one of the quietest and most beautiful introductions I have ever heard. Gardner often moves between ambiguity and clarity and it is during these unfoldings that he demonstrates fine control’. (JMI, March-April ’03)

‘..is rich in ideas and knows how to pace their progression so that everything counts. (Irish Times, Feb ’03)

The Shipyard
- for orchestra

‘Industrial – strength depiction of the shipyard including a brilliantly percussive piano solo. (Irish Times, Oct ’02)

Wallop
- for orchestra

‘This work confirms Gardner as one of Ireland’s most imaginative composers’. (Irish News, Oct’96)

‘Engaging and impressive’ (Irish Times, Feb ’03)

Mutable Sea
- for amplified ensemble. (Fl. Cl. Vln. Vcl. db.2 pianos)

‘It makes a strong impression, partly because of the composer’s ability to control sensuality through gritty discipline and impeccable pacing’. (Irish Times, Nov ’02)

What Passing Bells
- for amplified ensemble and tape. (Voice, fl+bfl, trb, perc [gong, cymbal, wind chimes, vib, 2 bows, woodblock], pf, vn, va, db, tape)

‘This intense piece gripped you with a gentle yet firm hand. If sustaining things is a virtue, then Gardner is one of the most virtuous composers in the country’ (Irish Times, Nov ’06)

You Never Know What’s Round the Corner
- for ensemble (fl cl perc [tom] pf vn vc)

‘Beautifully bitchy’ (Chicago Classical Review, Nov ’09)

Hold On Big Lad
- for solo piano

‘The most interesting of the Irish works was Stephen Gardner’s no-holds-barred piano romp Hold On Big Lad played as to the manor born by Andrew Zolinsky. (Irish Times, May ’01 – performed during that year’s Sonorities Festival)

Don’t Push Your Granny While She’s Shavin’
- for string quartet

‘Seizes attention by starting at the edge of audibility and moves towards a great pulsating factory of sound’. (Irish Times, Dec ’05)