Baltimore Sun Reviews

“SPRING RHAPSODY” NOT SO PASTEL FOR ASO

Capping off the program was Beneath This Stone, Kristin Kuster’s entry in the Annapolis Charter 300 Young Composers Competition the orchestra is sponsoring this year. Her work, a musical tribute to the pulses and rhythms lying beneath the surface of Annapolis, was nearly twice as long as its two predecessors in the contest, which gave it time to say something. Its lyrical interludes are full of plush harmonies, and I like the repetitious, minimalist-inspired urban bet, which might be subtitled, “An American in Annapolis on Groundhog Day.”

Phil Greenfield, Baltimore Sun, 26 March 2008.

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STRIKING THE RIGHT CHORDS IN ANNAPOLIS
NOVO’S ORCHESTRA WAS CONSISTENT, VIBRANT

Rounding out the program was the premiere of Beneath This Stone by Kristin Kuster. Kuster’s work, inspired by a plaque at the spot where a fountain to mark the 200th anniversary of the city charter was intended but never built, reveals a deft control of instrumentation, with sparkly writing for woodwinds and percussion.

Stylistically, the piece embraces mildly piquant dissonance, lyrical directness and traces of minimalist motor rhythm. Transitions between fast and slow sections of the score are too abrupt, as if the composer made sudden edits to keep the music within the six-to-ten-minute length required, but the overall effect is nonetheless engaging.

Tim Smith, Baltimore Sun, 25 March 2008