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Classical / Aug 2017
Vance R. Koven
[On Gumboots]

One of the more popular recent works of chamber music (by which we mean a piece that has been performed and recorded by several discrete ensembles, to general acclaim) is David Bruce’s Gumboots for clarinet and string quartet (2008)... Commissioned by Carnegie Hall for Todd Palmer (who performed it on this occasion) and the St. Lawrence String Quartet, it is popular for a variety of reasons. Most obviously, it is in an idiom that is immediately accessible, even pop-inflected. Gumoots’s emotionally engaging back-story involves Bruce’s study of South African gumboot (Wellies, high rubber boots) dancing that began as a form of communication among black gold miners during the apartheid years, when they were chained together and forbidden to speak. And finally, the piece follows that most appealing of musical progressions, from grim despair and anger to joyous celebration (think Beethoven 5 or 9), as the dancing evolves from protest to celebration of the resilience of the human spirit. Bruce has not sought to replicate the music of gumboot dancing, though he may have incorporated some of its rhythmic patterns, both of stepping and slapping the boots. .. The crack up-to-date string writing included the slapping rhythms well portrayed by snap-pizzicato in several movements. The sly ensemble writing places the clarinet’s accents frequently at odds with those of the strings...The rousing finale brought the house to its feet / Feb 2017
Milada Bendtsen
[On Nothing]

..the opera hall was full and the audience stood to applaud at the show’s close.

I stood with them, my head full of thoughts about the moment when children become adults and how much they are affected by the group to which they belong or want to belong. How difficult it is to feel responsibility as an individual, and most of all how I will bring my own children up so that they do not become invisible members of a crowd, but individuals that are proud of being themselves. ★★★★★ / Feb 2017
Ole Straarup
[On Nothing]

A moving and thought-provoking youth opera.

Kristeligt Dagblad ★★★★★ / Feb 2017
Peter Dürrfeld
[On Nothing]

The show has an amazing intensity and cohesion and is a great triumph for the Danish National Opera and its talent. It is a healthy sign for the incredibly enterprising institutions in Danish culture to have the food chain in order, and the young singers - not to mention the 20 musicians from the Royal Academy of Music Orchestra School, in the orchestra pit assisting the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra - has not only learned something from being part of this process, they have also given us, the audience, a fine experience on a Saturday evening, where "Nothing" turned out to be quite something.

Politiken / Feb 2017
Thomas Michelsen
[On Nothing]

"Nothing" is not for children. Read the line again, slowly, and then take your kid to come in and experience a piece that may well change both their and your life.

The Arts Desk / Jan 2017
David Nice
[On Nothing]

David Bruce's setting of Janne Teller’s terrifying but ultimately moral novella Nothing....this was a show that worked at every level, begging a London airing (the opera premieres in Teller's Denmark next year)

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