San Diego Reader.com
/ Dec 2014
The world premiere violin concerto by David Bruce was amazing. I didn't like it. How can you like something that changes your perception of what music is capable of? It's beyond "like,” it's beyond "love." As the piece concluded the strings gradually played higher and higher until they had no tone left - until they ran out of string but they continued to bow on without any pitch.
The effect created the sound of an exhalation. The violins were the last to go, which left Gil Shaham playing the most infinitesimal of pitches. He too succumbed to the limits of his instrument and the music evaporated. It was as if we were witnessing someone releasing their very life to us.
It took me deep. I mean, I was close to losing it then and there. I'm not sure where I was headed but it was a place I've never been to before with music.
I've had to pull over because I couldn't see the road through my tears during Butterfly's entrance music or during the piano playout at the end of Dichterliebe but this was something altogether more intense than those beautiful sounds.
As I was being guided toward enlightenment, a different old man says, in his best loud-whisper, "Straaaange."
What's strange is that I didn't stand up and choke him out to his next life.
Perhaps David Bruce's music released some of my self importance and anger. I was in my subjective experience and this other person was in his. It's impossible to say that one is right and the other wrong.
The overwhelming spirit of peaceful release stayed with me. I started to consider what this music could be releasing.
It could be anything. It could be a life. It could be a love or an addiction. It could be a dogma or a pet peeve. It could be a state of releasing everything, a state of non-attachment. I can't say.
What I can say is that this piece of music will have ramifications. Even taking the trash can out to the curb is going to be different tomorrow morning.
San Diego Story.com
/ Dec 2014
a serious, probing accomplishment...
From Bruce’s concerto title and his characterizations of each movement - Delicate, shimmering; Misterioso, and Inward, reverential - it will surprise no one that this concerto does not explode with motivic pyrotechnics for the soloist, the typical calling card of the warhorse violin concerto. Instead, Bruce has written an expansive minimalist meditation, giving the solo violin gently arched, floating themes accompanied by delicate, undulating string motifs that create a serene mode of contemplation like the "Homage" sections of Olivier Messiaen's "Quartet for the End of Time."
In a few sections, Bruce allowed the soloist and orchestra to pursue more active, robust themes, notably in the middle movement's giocoso mood, but they invariably returned to contemplation. Overall, I appreciated the subtle complexities of Bruce's orchestral textures ...
I believe this Violin Concerto has a future, although it will not be a likely vehicle for up-and-coming soloists who want to prove their technical prowess. But for those violinists like Joshua Bell and Shaham whose acclaim is beyond question, Bruce's "Fragile Light" could prove a welcome antidote to the tedium of repeating the splashy warhorse concertos that are programmed to death.
/ Sep 2014
The climactic work on the programme, Cut the Rug by David Bruce, was some of the happiest music that there is and no doubt warmed the hearts of the audience. Bruce's work in four parts demonstrated flamenco influences and elements of klezmer that easily succeeded in dragging the audience along with the music. With attention for extraordinary instruments such as the gaita and the Chinese pipa, the composition with its different styles presented an immensely rich palette of warm colours. Bruce’s music was like taking in a dose of happiness, making one feel like it is Christmas already.
/ Jun 2014
David Bruce’s Gumboots was full of depth and yearning with some brilliantly sharp rhythmical jousting between the strings.
/ Jun 2014
Festival founder Jonathan Bloxham took to the podium to direct David Bruce’s Gumboot’s Part 1, allowing its slow melody to grow organically and shaping an account of stunning beauty. David Orlowsky's warm opening on bass clarinet, joined seamlessly by violist Liisa Randalu, was a treat.
/ Apr 2014
David Bruce’s Cymbeline for mandolin and string quartet (written for Avital last year), a vibrant piece with a golden hue that finds much sonic variety in the instrumental combination
The Voice Magazine
/ Feb 2014
The four parts in "Cut the Rug," written by David Bruce, are high points, too. The exuberant "Drag the Goat" is a reference to the Central Asian horseback game called Buzkashi, wherein horseback riders punt around a headless goat carcass.
New York Times
/ Jan 2014
Mr. Avital’s engaging Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall on Friday featured another new piece, David Bruce’s colorful “Cymbeline” for Mandolin and String Quartet, given its New York debut here with the Enso String Quartet.
Cymbeline is Celtic for “lord of the sun”; according to the program book, Mr. Bruce was inspired by “the seemingly golden color palette” of the blend of mandolin and strings. In “Noon,” the second of three movements, Mr. Avital plucked and strummed energetically during what sometimes sounded like a vigorous, folk-tinged jam session. “Sunrise” and “Sunset,” the enigmatic outer movements, unfolded with elusive gestures and Middle Eastern harmonies, a long, eerie melody unfurling on the viola in the final movement.
San Diego Story -2013 Bravos
/ Jan 2014
When the San Diego Symphony was planning its Carnegie Hall debut and tour of China in the fall of 2013, someone wisely decided that a new work would make an excellent calling card. “Night Parade,” David Bruce’s 14-minute tone poem of nocturnal city happenings, filled that bill nicely. His orchestration craftily engaged the orchestra’s strengths—skilled wind principals and a crack percussion team—and he unleashed a stream of consistently engaging themes. A commission is always a bit of a gamble, and this one paid off.