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Financial Times / Apr 2012
Andrew Clark
[On Fire]

Not every 20x12 commission is for indoor performance and some have little connection to physical activity. David Bruce's Fire, for example, is designed for the outdoors, "more an inward-looking piece than a whizz-bang spectacle," he says. Scored for choir, four horns and fire artist, Fire draws inspiration from the Olympic flame - "a connection to divinity and spirituality".

Like Beamish, Bruce, 41, was initially flummoxed by the Olympic connection. Then his imagination began to work. Drawing on texts by Vikram Seth and by 6th-century poet Yannai, he envisages an audience of up to 300 inside a circle of choristers with sticks of flame creating a space for meditation within chant-like waves of overlapping sound. But will the atmosphere be sufficiently quiet when Fire is premiered in Salisbury town square on May 26, with later performances scheduled for other public spaces in Brighton and London?

Bruce sees music and sport as "different aspects of celebrating humanity, a parallel thing. The connection between believing in something and practice – the doing of it – has a great resonance, and in that sense playing music has a spiritual aspect for me. I'm sure sports men and women feel something similar. Whether as athletes or artists, we are trying to transcend our bodies and fulfil our potential." / Mar 2012
Jack Fishman
[On Gumboots]

On the second half of the program, the quartet was joined by clarinetist Ilya Shterenberg in David Bruces Gumboots. This wonderful new piece was the highlight of the concert. It is in two sections a slow, meditative recitative in a melodic style that shared a little bit of a Renaissance quality from the first work on the program. This is the kind of melody, when played with the care and tenderness that Camerata produced, that makes you hold your breath while listening. Again, like the first piece on the program stunningly beautiful. The second section was five very rhythmic high-energy dances that featured dazzling fast and high clarinet playing by Ilya Shterenberg. Ilya also played a few notes on bass clarinet on the first movement. I wish the composer had utilized the bass clarinet a bit more, as he created some beautiful sonorities with the low notes coupled with the string quartet. Gumboots is both fun and moving. Im looking forward to hearing more David Bruce in the future.

I care if you listen blog / Feb 2012
Thomas Deneuville

Another colorful piece deeply imbued with folk tradition was David Bruce's Caja de Musica (Music Box, also the title of the concert). Even though Bruce was born in Connecticut and raised in England, his interest in world traditions led him to use elements of Joropo music from Venezuela for this commission. The result is an intense and joyful three-movement work, very tonal and rhythmic, displaying a feigned naivety.

Harvard Crimson / Jan 2012
Adabelle Ekechukwu

Bruces four-part Cut the Rug in itself was an expedition through joy and sorrow. Theres a kind of journey throughout the piece, Bruce said. You can kind of think of it as three dances and a funeral. Jaunty, swift notes from the clarinet and mandolin combined with the sporadic but rhythmic percussion to create the lighter aspect of the folk piece. As the excited trill of the clarinet was replaced by the melancholic melody of the bagpipe-like Spanish gaita, the piece entered its sepulchral march, only to be reawakened by an energized, up-tempo rhythm created by the lighter sounds of the clarinet and string instruments. The last movement is sort of defiant of death, said Bruce.

Harvard Gazette / Jan 2012
Harvard Gazette

David Bruce composed the four-part work "Cut the Rug," which included a frenetic final movement that he said "sort of raises the roof." He said he was forced to rethink how to craft a work for musicians with such different approaches to the art form.

"I am used to writing everything down... And knowing that there were some musicians who don't come from traditions where that happens, it was quite hard for me to get my head around."

The Guardian / Jan 2012
Tom Service
[On Fire]

New Music 20 x 12 : More than a good pun a good idea, too: 20 new pieces, all 12 minutes long, will premiere across the country throughout the year, from hardcore classical to jazz. Joe Cutler's Ping! has been composed for table-tennis players; there's Emily Howard's mini-opera on the life of Czech runner Emil Zatopek in Liverpool; plus David Bruce's Fire, an outdoor operatic spectacular, in Salisbury. All 20 pieces will be broadcast on Radio 3.

(The arts in 2012: classical - Tom Service picks his highlights of the year ahead)

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