TESTIMONIALS / REVIEWS


            “As usual I have been fiendishly busy and during my last absence our humidification system went bonkers, depositing condensation and mold all over the place so now I am trying to deal with that on top of my overload. Nonetheless, I have put on the postludes whenever I've been at the computer and found them up to your usual iconoclastic, stylistic potpourri standards of giddy humor, no holds barred soup to nuts and high spirits. They are balm to the grim state of mind in which I find myself.”

—Robert Levin, pianist, scholar, Professor of Music, Harvard University



             "Gary Noland is one of those 21st Century comosers seeking to forge a new aesthetic based on older models that do not traffic in serialism or minimalism. These dry, playful pieces pay homage to classical form from various periods while gently satirizing them. Zany waltzes, ragtime riffs, chorales, toccatas, and much else romp and tear through these depictions of superheroes and villains from his 'chamber novels'; other pieces spoof serial music ('Ventured, Nothing gained') to grand operas ('Messitative') and Jewish guilt ('Shpilkes'). The irreverent program closes with two serious, impressive, endlessly modulating memorials: one to George Rochberg, an allusive homage to an important neoromantic who was himself a master of allusion; another to Jon Sutton, an artist Noland feels was wrongfully neglected by a corporate culture that promotes dreck and mediocrity, making it 'possible to have a Brahms or Schubert next door and not even realize it'. This is a culture that 'confers towering soapboxes to impostors of all persuasions, all too often to the exclusion of first-rate minds who are less savvy about how to work the system to their advantage'. 

              Smaller labels like North Pacific Music represent a new way of working that system, a small means of saving what Noland regards as 'an endangered (and fast becoming extinct) high culture'. I could do without the ugly cover art, but the piano sound is extremely vivid—and Noland plays his work with wit and conviction."

—Jack Sullivan, American Record Guide, July/August 2007 



            “Gary—you continue to be one of the most original of the contributors to ‘The Classical Salon.’ And ‘Effete Stinkopations’ [Postlude #2] opens one of my ragtime shows.”

—David Reffkin, Host, “Classical Salon” and “The Ragtime Machine,” KUSF 90.3 FM, University of San Francisco.



       "…Without missing a beat, the concert rolled on with Gary Noland’s Schmaltz Fantasy (sorry, that’s Waltz Fantasy). Like an André Rieu opium dream, Noland’s waltz slowly emerged from a morass of sound, solidified into a lush, decadent, Viennese waltz before dissolving and reforming again and again. Like Bernstein, Noland made great use of the familiar, in this case the easily recognized waltz form, but made it personal, unique, and extremely interesting in his interpretation."Aaron Berenbach, Northwest Reverb, March 16th, 2009 (review of Cascadia Composers—NACUSA inaugural concert at the Old Church, Portland, Oregon).


 

            “Mr. Noland’s Postludes are a collection of wild and crazy pieces for … piano. These are essentially parodies of various styles, set in a dizzying harmonic language that loops uncontrollably through a wide-ranging gamut of possible and impossible tonalities. He applies this procedure to fugue, ragtime, German dances (Schubert), romantic waltzes (Richard Strauss seems to be a favorite), and virtuosic piano scherzos. There’s a Chopinesque polonaise, a whiff of pentatonic Debussy; and, like most composers after Berlioz, he can’t seem to keep his hands off the Dies Irae (though fortunately tongue is firmly in cheek). Both Peter Schickele and Conlon Nancarrow hover over the proceedings. I’d even throw in Mark Applebaum, another Californian … The opening fugue is dedicated to the late David Lewin, the prominent Harvard theorist.  Lukas Foss gets a dedication, also (maybe his Baroque Variations had some sort of influence on Noland at some point).

            The general effect is like watching wet paintings of 19th Century musical memorabilia drip into frazzled 21st Century oblivion. The comic-book grotesquerie that graces the jewel box pretty much says it all … these pieces are striking and entertaining … (Postlude 12, an interminable exercise in blues montage, is the most daunting.) The pieces all have funny titles … Mustaches on the Mona Lisa, but those can be interesting if you’re in the right frame of mind.”

—Allen Gimbel, American Record Guide

 


            “Yesterday, the first day of the year [2004], I opened your CD package—and could hardly believe my ears when I listened to your Venge Art and 24 Postludes for Piano, Op. 72—how magnificent!!  I will definitely include most your works in our local shows, especially in the Art Block program SoundSculpture—a program for visual and sonic art.…I listen to all arriving music and [respond] seldom as excited as I did to your music.…Have a terrific 2004.  You made mine with your inspiring music, talent and creativity. Thank you.”

—Brita Heizmann, Executive Producer, KAZU Local Programming, Pacific Grove, CA.



            “Many thanks for the CD’s you sent me, which I have been listening to with great pleasure and fascination.…I am bowled over by the expertise of your music:  you use certain elements from the 19th century and from jazz, etc., and just at the moment when I am about to say, OK, what else is new?, you do a number of things, such as speeding up, becoming wildly dissonant, modulating to a distant continent, stopping completely and throwing some kind of total surprise. All of thes things are possible, but you seem to know exactly when to do what and how much.  I don’t know anybody else who can do it!  And the brief electronic statements are spooky in the best and most extreme sense.  They make my hair (what’s left of it) stand on end.…”

—Andrew Imbrie, composer

 


            “Gary Noland’s Venge Art is more than just a collection of music.…inspiring.  He walks with assurance through the treacherous landscape of late tonality and early post-tonality (eg. Strauss).…a gifted composer.”

Payton MacDonald—American Record Guide


 

            “Mr. Noland writes as a ‘time traveler’ in styles long abandoned by most composers as well as styles so new as to not have been imagined but by him.  This he accomplishes naturally, convincingly, with originality and true passion.  His command of all musical languages and his ability to traverse musical time is nothing less than remarkable.  Listen!”

—Donald Martino, Pulitzer Prize winning composer

 


            “Composer Gary Noland is possessed of a rich musical imagination, whose technique distills the achievements of Reger, Strauss and Schoenberg but also refracts their post-romantic/expressionist tendencies through the lens of twenty-first century post-modernism, American style. Moreover, he fits Stravinsky’s definition of a great composer:  one who doesn’t merely steal, but knows what to steal.  This Noland does with a wit and aplomb unique to the music of our time.”

—Ira Braus, pianist, musicologist, Professor of Music, The Hartt School


 

            “Clever, pretty, and very listenable classical solo piano music. Post-romantic, post-impressionist, with little nods to ragtime and silent movie soundtracks. Resolutely melodic, without pretenses. Instead of the usual blather about how clever the performer is, the liner notes are an allegory about the typists P and Q.”

—Alex Dunn, KZSU 90.3FM, Stanford, CA.

 


            “NPM has issued a new CD from GARY NOLAND, a valuable member of the Eugene music community whose … Seventh Species concerts provided a vital showcase for local art music composers.  The disk contains excerpts from Noland’s 150-hour “chamber novel,” Venge Art, which contains more than 300,000 words of text, more than 500 pages of music, more than 200 drawings and more.  Though no CD can fully encompass Noland’s multimedia vision, this disk will appeal most to listeners with some knowledge of classical music, who’ll get his outrageous puns (musical and otherwise) about music history.

            He’s more than just a jokester, though; ‘Fantasy in e Minor’ (featuring Steinhardt on piano and Oregon Symphony cellist Hamilton Cheifetz) and ‘Romance for Viola and Piano’ imbibe the late-romantic air of what Noland calls his Richard Strauss phase, at least until the tone cluster explodes … Art music certainly needs Noland’s Satie-esque humor.  I hope to hear his obvious gifts applied to other projects.”

—Brett Campbell, Eugene Weekly

 


            “Gary Noland, a composer and pianist with an impressive academic pedigree (including a Ph.D. from Harvard) and extensive performing experience, here presents an album of solo piano compositions, or ‘interludes.’ Actually, some of these pieces seem in no way transitory; instead, they present extended musical dialogues that call upon a host of musical styles and require considerable technical facility to perform. Noland, a fleet-fingered, ebullient performer, is more than up to the task. Pastiche pieces like ‘Mumbo Gumbo’ and ‘Expresso Wagon’ evoke all manner of Romantic era classical piano figurations; they gently lampoon some of the genre's conventions, but always remain bright, witty and engaging. ‘The Temptation of Saint Floyd’ also channels Romanticism, particularly the Straussian sort, demonstrating a more reflective demeanor and adding a dollop of schmaltz to the proceedings. ‘Push Button Fingers’ is prevailingly modern in construction, with syncopated rhythms and sprightly, angular runs creating a far more contemporary sound world. Noland's work may be eclectic—sometimes even a bit goofy—but Interludes is cleverly constructed and consistently well performed.”

—Christian Carey, Splendid Magazine, 12/29/2005

 


             “… Solo works for piano [Interludes, vol 1]. I enjoyed the album … a fun listen. Can’t go wrong here … Spirited … exciting … Boiling, sometimes frenetic … dramatic … Gershwin feel … intense … Fun … dark tension … Chaotic, turbulent …”

Peter, KZSU FM90.3, Stanford, CA

 


            “… an enormously talented composer … Gary Noland is a musician with impeccable taste and a penetrating understanding of modern aesthetics.”

—Terry Wergeland, pianist and composer

 


            “ … intriguing, irritating, … distinctive, inventive, … subversive, … [the music] is never what you expect.  You hear all sorts of styles and influences—Beethoven, ragtime, Nancarrow, stride—often in very quick succession.… I had the strange feeling with many of these pieces [Interludes and Postludes] that, about half way through, I had got fed up with them but I was then sorry when they finished.… You can hardly be indifferent to Noland’s music and so I would urge you to try it. In spite of my frequent irritation, I will certainly be returning to it and seeking out examples of Noland’s chamber works and multimedia compositions. Music aside, speaking as a cat-lover, I feel an intsinctive sympathy with the composer depicted on the front cover of the Interludes fondly embracing his cat. Illogical? Well, yes; I think this music really has got to me after all."

—Roger Blackburn, MusicWeb International

 


            “… not exactly a ‘potted plant in a hotel lobby,’ Gary Noland’s Venge Art is to classical music what rap is to heavy metal.”

—David Denniston, composer

 


            "Gary Noland continues to turn out volumes of compositions in classical forms that defy the tradition. Where many composers find contentment in tweaking the forms, Gary twists them mercilessly, goosing the old masters and the warhorses they rode in on. Not surprisingly, many find all this maddeningly wild, but just as many ... wildly entertaining."

—Jackie T. Gabel, North Pacific Music

 


            "Gary Noland is the Richard Strauss of the 21st century"

—Guillermo Galindo, composer

 


            “…Gary Noland [‘s] … two-disk collection of postludes and interludes … is a fully realized tour de force and a major artistic statement. Any fan of classical and contemporary piano music is likely to find something delightful or intriguing in this ambitious collection, but it should find special favor among aficionados of late 19th and early 20th century composers as varied as Strauss, Schoenberg and Satie. From brittle waltzes to restless pantonal excursions to cheeky pastiches, this well-crafted survey showcases Noland’s deep appreciation for—and occasional ironic takeoffs from—the work of the masters, not to mention some thrilling piano playing by the composer himself.”

—Brett Campbell, Eugene Weekly


 

             “Composer and pianist Gary Noland is into ‘ha ha music’—that is, classical music played for laughs, a genre famously (or infamously, depending on your taste in humor) popularized by Peter Schikele, also known as P.D.Q. Bach. This collection of solo piano music, identified as postludes rather than the more traditional preludes designation, indicates that, despite occasionally forcing the musical jokes (and writing far too many tortured puns in his liner notes), Noland has both the writing and playing chops to compensate for his painful musical humor. Dedicated to the late music theorist David Lewin, ‘Philomathetique’ is a witty trope on the music of Richard Strauss, with characterful motives and abundant quick modulations. ‘Effete Stinkopations’ is a deft, splashy bit of ragtime, while ‘Pickthanks and Prickmedainties’ is a light-hearted romp played at a dizzying tempo and ‘Psychonipptions’ (dedicated to composer Henry Martin) is a send-up of 20th Century French music. Overall, Postludes is a mixed bag, but when Noland focuses on playing the piano well rather than simply playing for laughs, his compelling artistry shines through.”

—Christian Carey, Splendid Magazine



            “Very impressive … original and awesome sound.

—Jake Aller

 


“Being a ragtime reviewer, it is often interesting to see what shows up in my mailbox.  Let me also state right from the get-go that, as a ragtime reviewer, I am almost completely out of my element on this CD.  I am comfortable in saying that Russell Street Rag, written by Gary Noland in 1974 when he was 17, is a classic rag with many Joplin influences that fits well into the nostalgia category of today’s ragtime.  For the rest of this disc, I needed help which the composer willingly provided.

            Grande Rag Brilliante for piano, a piece of 15 minutes duration, in Noland’s words ‘stretches the traditional ragtime form insomuch as it includes an extended fugal section and even develops some of the opening material against the fugue subject prior to the “recapitulation” of the opening theme.  The technique of “turntable distortion” of the harmonies and

“frozen grace notes” is probably obvious to many listeners.’

            As for the other pieces, Noland says, ‘The Fantasy and the Romance are strongly influenced by Richard Strauss and some of his contemporaries.  The Septet contains many quotations from well-known works by composers such as Tchaikovsky, Liszt, Chopin, Brahms, Gershwin, Beethoven, Johann Strauss, J.S. Bach, and the like. The thread that holds

the work together is the opening melody from a movement of Bach's famous E Major partita for solo violin.  The septet is mostly intended as a work of satire (although, admittedly, some people fail to see the humor).  You may have noticed the rather irreverent whoopee cushions that sound at the very end of the piece.

‘The Amerikan Bozo Dance is the eighth movement of my second string quartet.  It follows on the heels of a rather lengthy and dramatic contrapuntal movement titled Polyester Fugue, which is designed to set up the listeners' expectations of something grandiose and serious. Instead, they get this rather silly dance piece.

            ‘Pornomusik is not as bad as its title suggests, although I have taken the liberty of giving it the equivalent of a PG rating. The score consists of a twelve-page comic book I drew that contains approximately forty pages of performance guidelines.  Essentially, it works like many other graphically notated scores insofar as it relies to a large extent on

the wit, imagination, and skill of those who are performing it.  The text is recited by whoever performs it.  The Humoresque is a salon piece of sorts incorporating various juxtapositions of styles ranging from a rather severe atonal opening to styles that might be described as more “late romantic.”’

… If you are adventuresome, you might want to investigate this disc, for if your tastes are firmly embedded in classic ragtime it would truly be an adventure.”

—Jack Rummel, Program Host, Ragtime America, KGNU 88.5 FM, Boulder CO


 

            “… enjoyed listening to your fascinating inventions. In some ways your music is best appreciated by fellow composers who will appreciate and understand the intricate links of theory, style, and history. I particularly like the surprising and humorous modulations of compositional styles.

—George Peter Tingley, composer



"Hats on sideways, ladies and gentlemen: an oddball! Gary Noland is an American pianist/composer of virtuosic skill and humorous outlook. The fifteen keyboard pieces (piano, harpsichord, synthesizer) that fill this 2006 North Pacific CD are melodic, filled with flashes of ragtime and Chopin, vaudeville and Satie. And sometimes they explode into aleatory or acid jazz or salsa, or just collages of blips and yelps. It's especially disconcerting since there are also completely 'straight' pieces, like the Bachlike Music is Dead: A Paradox in Fugue. My favorite piece on the CD has to be Ragbones, which starts like a nice, simple rag, then gradually works [sic] grows more slippery until it's changing keys every third bar or so. Marvelous to try to follow. Some other Partchlike titles are Insurrection of the Office Slaves, Psycho-Bacchanal, and Serial Lullaby. The composer performs. You can listen to excerpts from the CD here."

—Jim  Moskowitz


 

            “We recently recieved a CD [Royal Oilworks Music] of Gary Noland's here at WOBC. I must say that upon previewing some of the tracks and reading the program notes that all of us have never laughed so hard in our lives. We usually don't play music as arrogant and docile as Gary's but the ironic-postmodern-naive-pretension that this CD showed made me reconsider. I would like to get in touch with M. Noland and arrange a telephone interview for one of our classical radio shows.”

—Joshua Morris, Classical Director, WOBC 91.5 FM, Oberlin, OH


 

            “Gary Noland is a composer to end all composers … his attitude is not subtly disestablishmentarian, and you’d better enjoy it.… Some of the sounds are amusing, but the music is sort of deliberately annoying, both in sonority and in mood—deliberately uninspired, almost to the point of inspiration. From Bach to rags to whatever, Noland seems determined to annoy as many people as he can, in an amusing way. He is clearly an angry guy but witty.

            If the idea of deliberate lack of originality purveyed in an atmosphere of political incorrectness appeals to you, here, in no uncertain terms, it is. Titles such as ‘Spray Taint’, ‘Dog Duo’, and ‘Insurrection of the Office Slaves’ give the mood, while the title tune [‘Royal Oilworks Music’] is the real purpose of the Bush administration, as explained in the notes.…”

—David Moore, American Record Guide


 

            “Seriously odd classical... Tongue-in-cheek electro-acoustic, combines baroque harpsichord and cheesy electronic sounds. Funny like Satie is funny – zany and irreverent. Lots of serialism … but the bizarre collage of styles and time-periods is brilliant. Oh, it’s also like PDQ Bach/Peter Schickele in some ways. Absurd liner notes!  Baroque-sounding … Serialist electro-acoustic … very refreshing, given how “ivory tower” this type of music often is. Cheesy synths, electronic percussion and trumpets … uptempo and funky. Baroque harpsichord with pop and world music sounds going on in off-kilter, almost random rhythms. WTF? Very cool …Waa waa synth, fugue-like … Zany … Cecil Taylor piano over drum machine breakbeats … Close to Dual (Ed Chang and Doug Theriault – crazy dense guitar and laptop processing), with national anthem-like moments?? And bird song?? Zany … Slow serialist/romantic … prelude to baroque trills to Reichian/rag arpeggios to a Chopin breakdown to a jazz ending. Phew. This rocks … Boogy woogy synth with jazz percussion and serialist randomness. Lots of noodling, er, electronic wanking? Upbeat … Staccato baroque fugue on electronic choral sounds and pipe organ sound … funny … Rhythmically interesting …  Fugue for harpsichord … Some free jazz freak outs … Great title for this … Squeaky sounds with sax and choral synthesizer—like if you played the Handel theme from the film A Clockwork Orange, Sonny Rollins, Tchaikovsky, and, well, a psychotic serialist all at once

KZSU FM90.3, Stanford, CA

 


            “A  look at the  head-note will alert you to Gary Noland’s very personal way with words. Not for Noland the lures either of Olympian detachment or lower case “significance.” No, Noland  is full-on and takes few linguistic prisoners. Similarly with the booklet artwork, Noland’s  own, which is an example of crazed  Robert Crumb à L’Africaine. And his music is much the same, Deformed Fugue, his 1977 piece for harpsichord summoning up  pretty nicely his compositional stance. This is an elixir brewed of Couperin and Rameau, Scott Joplin, Bach, free funk, free Jazz  (Cecil Taylor?), the Fugue, and an unholy alliance of straight sounding neo-classicism and its subsequent assault by the forces of percussive militancy.

            Noland may actually be a romantic but doesn’t want you to know. His Prelude is baroque-convincing though attended by some sour-ish off notes but he follows it with Serial Lullaby, a synthesiser-rich free funk piece that mocks its own title. Spray Taint gives us assaulted baroque, the percussion blizzards full of jazz offbeat and whoop-bang noises (plus telephone rings and disco inferno). He subjects Ragtime to the same souring procedures as he does to his off-note harpsichord baroque and evokes a drugs fix (in My Babe’s Gone Down To Do Her Glue) with some haywire free form. He writes an American fanfare for the title track and subjects it to anti-Bush assault by bird song and drum blister.

             His quixotic sense extends to opus numbers – the bowels of Op. 80 are scattered throughout the disc, and to instrumentation as well. I assume he makes all the noises, both pianistic and harpsichord synthesised and vocalised. He’s a veritable  one-man band of off-kilter influences, the procedural repetition of which sometimes got me seriously down, though I did like his Swingle Sisters take-off on Music is Dead: A Paradox in Fugue.”

—Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International


            “…the most virtuosic composer of fugue alive today…the Reger of the 21st century…”

—Ira Braus, pianist, musicologist, Professor of Music, The Hartt School


 

            “Your sense of humor is awesome.”

—Lukas Foss


 

            “…Noland himself is a composer of quite remarkable diversity. His works range from ragtimey numbers to searching, almost Cecil Taylorish piano explorations to neo-Bachian counterpoint—but all played with a contemporary, idiosyncratic twist or three.  He likes setting up, then subverting, the expectations raised by these genres, using effects such as speeding up tempos and slipping up the key signatures. Yet for such a stylistic chameleon, Nolands’s music retains a distinctive individual voice capable of considerable appeal…”

—Brett Campbell, Eugene Weekly.

 


            “ … court jester to the classical establishment …”

Payton Macdonald—American Record Guide


 

            “Gary Noland's musical output is vast. He has written…beautiful and brilliant music that is …scholarly, …satirical, …and whimsical.… His virtuosic and brilliant piano rags should be in the repertoire of every concert pianist for use, at the very least, as crowd-pleasing encores. He incorporates studious control and…creativity with amusing effects to create music that is a sheer pleasure to listen to (and see) performed! My favorite "effect" is the "Nolanders"—Two children's colorful coat racks to which are attached an assortment of…sound devices which emit unusual and…amusing noises. He often incorporates different media in his work including electronic sounds, visuals, spoken text and artwork for a complete musical/dramatic experience…serious and challenging, beautiful… thought provoking…He has written wonderful piano pieces with amusing names including the Nerdfox Rag, Berfelgunk, Quodlibet, Doris-Daylude, Splintermezzo, Choraludes, Zigzagatelle, Blissonance, Obsequy and Mortesque…He performs astonishing improvisations on the piano…”

—Janet Campbell, Artist Representative, West Coast Classial Artists

 


             “Your music sounds totally insane and is much too long and difficult, but I like it.”

—Martha Anne Verbit, pianist.

 


            “…a glenngouldian personality…”

—Joseph Fennimore, composer

 


            “… Gary Noland is one of the great composers of the 21st century.…”

—Jack Rummel, Program Host, Ragtime America, KGNU 88.5 FM, Boulder CO


 

            “… art music certainly needs Noland’s Satie-esque humor.”

—Brett Campbell, Eugene Weekly.


  

            “…1999 Composer of the Year, Dr. Gary Noland opened the festivities with a recital of his works, ranging from a lush Neo-Romantic violin [sic] and piano piece to a more avant-garde work for narrator and mixed chamber ensemble.  Dr. Noland’s fertile imagination, wit and craftsmanship were evident throughout.…

—Matt Cooper, Music News, Oregon Music Teachers Association


 

           “Mad, sad music …”

—Joseph Fennimore, composer


 

            “Nostalgic …”

—Brett Campbell, Eugene Weekly


 

            “Noland’s the man …”

—Eugene Register Guard


 

            “… a loony composer from Oregon …”

—Max Shea, Program Director, Martian Gardens, WMUA 91.1FM, Amherst, MA


 

             “Yr work makes me think about music—what it is, why it is what it is and what shd it be? which is the highest praise.”

—Joseph Fennimore, composer


REVIEWS AND QUOTES ON INDIVIDUAL WORKS BY GARY NOLAND


Café Ritardando, a comic-book opera (Op. 89):


        "While it's foolhardy to evaluate an entire opera based upon a 15-minute excerpt, the five "semifinalists" painted with bold, multicolor strokes using diverse, cutting-edge themes that were nothing if not Serious … Gary Noland's cacophonous Café Ritardando was a puckish exercise in musical bedlam. Bits of Mozart and Strauss collided with six soloists, who were cued by the conductor with flash cards to sing their nonsense text like a "valley girl," or "operatic," "macho" or with "German accent," while the audience was instructed to make noises like a chicken, pig or sheep."

                                            —D. L. Groover, Houston Press, Arts & Entertainment, June 28, 2007.

 

Philomathetique for piano (Op. 72, No. 1):

 

            “Opens with dense pseudo-fugue, then cheerful silent-movie soundtrack stuff. Pretty and humorous.”

—Alex Dunn, KZSU FM90.3, Stanford, CA.

Effete Stinkopations for piano (Op. 72, No. 2):                          

 

             “Fast, short and busy. Impressionist+ragtime.”—Alex Dunn, KZSU FM90.3, Stanford, CA.

                         

De Rigueur Mortis for piano (Op. 72, No. 3):

 

            “Hints of modern compositional technique, but still tonal … cheerful and apprehensive.”

—Alex Dunn, KZSU FM90.3, Stanford, CA.

                         

Pickthanks and Prickmedainties for piano (Op. 72, No. 4):

                          

            “Lovely, gently disturbed waltz.…—Alex Dunn, KZSU FM90.3, Stanford, CA.

 

Psychonniptions for piano (Op. 72, No. 5):

 

            Fast, mostly cheerful … freaks out about half way through.…” —Alex Dunn, KZSU FM90.3, Stanford, CA.

 

Frivolization Asserts Itself for piano (Op. 72, No. 6):                         

 

“Humorous and ornate. Cross between Ravel and Brahms. Keeps looping back on itself.”

—Alex Dunn, KZSU FM90.3, Stanford, CA.

 

 Perfessor Xeroxburger’s Ravery for piano (Op. 72, No. 7):

                        

             “Paranoid Ravel.…”—Alex Dunn, KZSU FM90.3, Stanford, CA.

 

“Careero-Phlegmatic Blah-Blahs” for piano (Op. 72, No. 8):

                       

            “Dark, dense fugue … cerebral, but still tonal.”—Alex Dunn, KZSU FM90.3, Stanford, CA.

 

“Snake Blossom” for piano (Op. 72, No. 9):

                         

            “…pleasant dance number…”—Alex Dunn, KZSU FM90.3, Stanford, CA.

 

“Mr. Bighead Goes to Town” for piano (Op. 72, No. 10):

 

            “Like Brahms. Less grumpy …”—Alex Dunn, KZSU FM90.3, Stanford, CA.

 

“Index Dementia” for piano (Op. 72, No. 11):                        

 

            “Sweeping…”—Alex Dunn, KZSU FM90.3, Stanford, CA.

 

“A Ho, Ho, and a Coupla Hums” for piano (Op. 72, No. 12):

                          

            “Similar to the other tracks, but longer.”—Alex Dunn, KZSU FM90.3, Stanford, CA.

 

“Music is Dead: A Paradox in Fugue” for SATB (Op. 53):

 

         What a piece! It's a very [well-] done fugue and very funny too … It's really precious.”

Gonçalo Lourenço, Director of the Odyssea Choir, Portugal.

  

“Trio:  After Darconville” (Op. 52):

 

             “… Thank you for your letter and the honor of your composition, which is touching to me.  I very much enjoyed the cassette and look forward to seeing and hearing the completed parts of ‘After Darconville.’”

—Alexander Theroux, novelist and essayist (author of Darconville’s Cat)

 

“Septet” (Op. 43):

 

         “…an incredible aural web.”—Russell Steinberg, composer.

 

“Blues Flash” for piano (Op. 42):

 

         “…brief, playful…”Brett Campbell, Eugene Weekly.

 

 “Women Who Cry Apples” (Op. 36):

 

             “Gary Noland’s cycle of six songs, Women Who Cry Apples (1994), is a very             complex score, full of witty musical solutions.  Based on a poem by Jonathan Swift, this effective cycle in some aspects reminds one of the musical world of Richard Strauss, making a parody of his life.”

—Sanya Shoilevska, International League of Women Composers Journal, October 1994.

 

“The Emancipate Metronoid” (Op. 33):

 

            “...Noland read his short story, The Emancipate Metronoid, about a severe (and incompetent) piano teacher who meets a sorry (and very messy) death.  The opposition of social convention versus the rampant destructiveness of our primal urges is clearly delineated.”—A.R.T.E. Newsletter

 

“Amerikan Bozo Dance” from “String Quartet No. 2” (Op. 32, No. 8):

 

            “…a great ostinato of American kitsch.  Sul pont never sounded so good.”—Russell Steinberg, composer

 

“Quaalude, Tabloid & Bug” (Op. 29):

 

            “...Series founder, Gary Noland, incorporated children’s toys, like those gadgets you turn over and they sound like a cow’s moo, into a chewy gumbo he called Quaalude, Tabloid & Bug for piano and junk. The odd piece opened and closed in an edgy modern style with Noland tearing at the piano while playing with the toys, yet the gorgeous center section was surprisingly lush and would have found a home in an earlier era.”—Fred Crafts, KUGN’s “Critic at Large,”  Eugene, OR

 

             “Gary Noland’s both serious and zany Quaalude, Tabloid, and Bug ‘for piano and junk’ was a hit with the audience, which exploded in laughter when Noland sat on an inflated cushion (causing a definitely loud ‘fart’-like sound) after a romantic-sounding piano monologue.  Noland evoked cry-baby sounds and other effects by manipulating toys and assorted ‘junk’ on two hat racks, one on each side of him at the piano.  Noland’s serious and deliberate demeanor throughout heighteened the humor.”A.R.T.E. Newsletter

 

            “The piano students really enjoyed the performance of your music during the Live Composers seminar on Wednesday evening. You helped to motivate and inspire them in may ways. Your’re great!”

—Claire Wachter, Director, University of Oregon High School Piano Camp; Associate Professor of Music, UO

 

            “I just came from upstair’s … where Gordon was listening and following the scores to [your] music.  The piano pieces with noises were on and I laughed anew…”Joseph Fennimore, composer

 

“The Broom Brigade” for piano (Op. 25):

 

            “...over in a whoosh.”—Fred Crafts, KUGN’s (AM 5.90) Critic-at-Large, Eugene, OR

 

“Fantasy in E Minor” for cello and piano (Op. 24):

 

         “Yo-Yo found the piece very melodic.”—Cristin Canterbury, office of cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

 

            “‘Fantasy in e Minor’ … imbibe[s] the late-romantic air of what Noland calls his Richard Strauss phase, at least until the tone cluster explodes … art music certainly needs Noland’s Satie-esque humor.…”

—Brett Campbell, “Homegrown Sounds:  Gifts of Music by Oregon Artists,” Eugene Weekly

 

“Nerdfox Rag” for piano (Op. 23):

           

            "...For serious collectors of 'outer-limits ragtime.'"—Dick Zimmerman, Rag Times  

 

            "...ultra- tricky syncopated number…"

—L.Douglas Henderson, ARTCRAFT Studio Newsletter, Wiscasset, Maine.

 

“Intermezzo” for violin and piano (Op. 18):

 

            "...My dictionary gives three definitions of 'Intermezzo,' also the name of a world premiere for violin and piano, Reiko Nishioka on violin and the composer, Gary Noland, on piano.  Included are the words 'light character.'  If so, the piece has intercalary intermezzos of its own smoothly segued between sections of sophisticated sobriety—or vice-versa.  I's a romantic romp, rhythmically robust yet melodically flirting with the nostalgia of cabaret, minus the sleazy diminution of spilled drinks and smelly ashtrays. Its elegance recalls Elgar, and the serious sides, a synthesis of those strange bedfellows Schubert and Ives. Composers hate it when their music reminds you of someone else's, but writing within a tradition, Noland has incorporated divergent styles that, woven together, work. Cosmopolitan without snobbery, it's intelligent, pleasurable and convincing."—Rocky Leplin, Music Critic, The Berkeley Voice 

 

            “’Intermezzo for Violin and Piano’ … puts a modern spin on turn-of-the-century-style piano and violin cafe music.”—Brett Campbell, Eugene Weekly

 

“Teatime in Purgatory” (Op. 16):

 

            "...The text...is paragraphed by improvised musical interludes that reflect styles ranging from atonalism to religious processionals....[Some] passages...are clever musical puns....one strains forward to catch witticisms amidst an unabridged dictionary of rhythmic alliteration and double-speak that single-handedly rivals Gilbert, Sullivan and Orwell. Glinting-eyed commentary...punctuates the...plot.  Enchanting depictions of Purgatory—'volcanoes cough up their phlegm fatale'—writhe throughout, as Banks leers from the lectern....mind-titillating...innovative..."—The Harvard Independent

 

             "…Superb Improvisation in 'Teatime in Purgatory'...I was one of a select group of cultural adventurers with the hardiness to explore Gary Noland's Teatime in Purgatory, a dramatico-musical event for narrator, piano improviser and pantomimists, which was given its world premiere [sic] by the composers' group Seventh Species on Dec. 5 at Mills College.  Often challenging, frequently whimsical and consistently intriguing, this novel combination of performance elements simultaneously offers entertainment and food for thought.  The commentary, with its sardonic tone, ranged from the petty unraveling of human ties over trivial differences to Kafkaesque depictions of troubled souls in morbid circumstances. At intentional odds with the commentary were quaint, light-hearted and even silly pantomimed events, including the polishing of invisible furniture and toying with colored goop that drip-dangled from performer's fingers. Serving as a constant commentary on the narration (delivered with cogency and flare by actor Opal Louis Nations) were three glazed doughnuts suspended from the front of the podium by strings. Carrots hung by their tops from a curved microphone extension for the duration of the performance. What was most impressive about the event was the piano improvisation of composer Gary Noland. Noland, director of Seventh Species, has advanced degrees from Harvard and has studied with John Adams, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and Andrew Imbrie. He proved himself both virtuosic and unassuming at the keyboard, and his improvisation alternately complemented or contrasted with the narration. It was a highly listenable and intelligently crafted blend of modern classicism, neo-romanticism and cabaret. Teatime in Purgatory was directed by Seventh Species co-founder Guillermo Galindo....”

The Berkeley Voice, The Montclarion, The Piedmonter, The Albany-El Cerrito Journal (Hills Publications).   

 

“Grande Rag Brillante” (Op. 15):

 

            4 OCTOBER 1991: KPFA radio in Berkeley, California, dedicates its newly constructed, two-story broadcast facility at 1929 Martin Luther King Jr. Way with a live satellite broadcast … works on the inaugual program, produced and narrated by KPFA Music director Charles Amirkhanian, included … Grande Rag Brilliant [sic] by Gary NOLAND, a 15-minute rag introducing KPFA’s new Yamaha Disklavier grand piano, featuring fugues, frozen grace-notes to produce tone clusters, and a lengthy passage in which the music modulates up and down a half-tone each measure (“the turntable change of speed effect”) …”—Nicolas Slonimsky, Music Since 1900  

 

            "...remarkable stuff..."—Max Morath, ragtime composer and pianist

 

            "… smashing and extremely difficult piano rag, … which is not distracted by the modulation-per-minute insanity of this beautiful and disorienting music … an exceedingly difficult composition by Berkeley composer Gary Noland, … the Grande Rag Brillante, Op. 15, was written in a modified turn-of-the-Century style and has never been performed successfully by a human pianist.  It features something Mr. Noland calls the 'record-player-turntable-change-of-speed-effect.'  In certain sections, each successive measure modulates up a half step into the next key signature, providing a mind-bending spiraling of focus which is truly breathtaking … spectacular… "—Charles Amirkhanian, Folio (KPFA program guide) 

 

            "...The Impossible Rag..."—Oakland Tribune

 

            "...perfectly simulates a piano roll mistracking and continually changing keys..."

—Dick Zimmerman, Rag Times

 

            "...masterpiece!...We recommend Mr. Noland's music for anybody who desires the witty and unexpected approach to the Ragtime idiom."—L. Douglas Henderson, ARTCRAFT Studio Newsletter, Wiscasset, Maine

 

            "...Ihre Musik ist wunderschön, "Grande Rag Brillante" ist ein Meisterwerk;  als auch Komponist bin ich voll Neid, dass ich so etwas nicht schreiben kann. Ich wünsche Ihnen viel Erfolg!  Ich komponiere schon viele Jahre europäisch tonal und es itst nicht leicht, so zu komponieren in einer Welt, die noch in der atonalen Ideologie denkt. Ich hoffe, Ihr Weg wird leichter...."—Ladislav Kupkovic, Czech-born composer residing in Germany

 

                    “Sort of like it ... electronicized ... ; then it becomes a real period piece, like Richard Taruskin’s theory about current HIP practitioners ...”—William Bolcom, Pulitzer prize winning composer.

 

            "...Gary Noland's music is complex, technically daunting stuff....'Grande Rag Brillante'... seems to be meant as an excercise in psychedelic ragtime piano, full of extremely fast passages, confusing modulations, and bizzare dissonance...."

—Butch Thompson, The Mississippi Rag

 

             "...KPFA Music Director Charles Amirkhanian plans to use the new Disklavier to showcase the talents of numerous contemporary composers currently using computer technology in their work, including John Adams and Dr. Gary Noland, whose Grande Rag Brillante, Op. 15, was played by the Disklavier during the new building's opening festivities on October 4th. This fascinating 15-minute piano work is technically impossible to play by hand, and was specially arranged through the use of a Macintosh computer to play on this instrument....”

—Jim Callahan, "Yamaha Disklavier Piano," Folio (KPFA program guide)

 

            "Tape Cassettes which should be in your Music Library!...The tapes listed below are exceptional recordings, ones that Mr. Henderson has played over and over, discovering something new with each replay.  They have our highest recommendation!...Weknow you will enjoy these superlative recordings!...RAGS by GARY NOLAND, a custom-made tape featuring Noland's compositions on the digital piano, the Disklavier and 'real' piano. His 46-page Opus 15, GRANDE RAG BRILLANTE, is featured. Creative, unusual music!  ARTCRAFT learned about this composer after reading a magazine article in which the writer openly suggested that Mr. Henderson should make rolls of his work!  The pieces have shifting tonality and shocking syncopations!"

—L. Douglas Henderson, 1991 Supplement for the "Fall 1990" ARTCRAFT MUSIC ROLLS Catalogue, Wiscasset, Maine

 

            "...Gary Noland, whose Grande Rag Brillante, digitalized because it was too fast for human fingers, launched KPFA's new edifice in 1991...."

—Rocky Leplin, "Ligeti takes a bow at UC-Berkeley," Berkeley Voice (and other Hills Publications).

 

            "I'll never get it up to tempo, but I'd like to try Grande Rag Brillante which I heard on KPFA today....I loved it...”

—Dorothy Bryant, novelist

 

            “… The Disklavier piece on the 8:00 concert [“A New Music Séance” sponsored by Other Minds in San Francisco] was Gary Noland’s epic Grande Rag Brillante (1979, rev. 1989), an enormous rag with humorously sudden and bizarre modulations and shifts. Noland also flexed his compositional muscles with an intricate fugue.…”

—Jonathan Russell, San Francisco Classical Voice

 

            “Just about any modern rag is hard to play.  Contemporary ragtime composers like Bill Albright, Bill Bolcom and Gunther Schuller put musical considerations well before any consideration for the piano player.

            The most difficult ragtime piece of all time is Gary Noland's "Grande Rag Brillante". So far nobody has successfully learned to play it.  Also it's 15 minutes long and virtually impossible to fit into a program, other than a classical piano recital.  The audience needs to have Attention Hyperabundance Disorder. (It's fine if (like me) your idea of a nice short little piece is a tone poem by Richard Strauss.) … The second most difficult may be the original manuscript of "Twelfth Street Rag" with right-hand octaves jumping all over the place.”Mark Lutton, pianist

 

“Six Lurid Albumblatts” (Op. 14):

 

            “…The score for these pieces is no more nor less than six drawings … which the performer ‘reads’ … In Noland’s words, ‘the only physical constraint in performing these pieces is that the player must focus his attention on the picture while interpreting it, much in the manner of sight-reading a conventional score.  Otherwise, there are no restrictions as to durations, rhythms, meters, tempi, keys, dissonance levels, notes, instrumentation, … ranges, or timbres … surreal and macabre … The piano performance was energetic and appropriately whimsical … provocative…”

—René Salm, A.R.T.E. Newsletter, Eugene, Oregon

 

“String Quartet No. 1” (Op. 12):

 

            "...awesome accomplishment..."—Donald Martino, Pulitzer Prize winning composer 

 

            "...tour de force..."Andrew Imbrie, composer, Professor Emeritus, U.C. Berkeley.

 

“Ragbones” for piano (Op. 11):

 

            "...of interest to collectors and students of ragtime arcana..."—Dick Zimmerman, Rag Times

 

              "...festooned with chromaticisms and disorienting rhythms..."—Butch Thompson, The Mississippi Rag

 

“Romance” for viola and piano (Op. 10):

 

            "...florid and juicy..."—Richard Buell, The Boston Globe 

 

            “...an absolute gem of a piece...”—Caitriona Bolster, KWAX 91.1FM, Eugene, Oregon

 

            “...we were literally catapulted back to the nineteenth century, through the aptly named Romance, Op. 10 by Gary Noland.  This work was designed for virtuosic playing on the part of each performer, and it was given a superb reading by violist Barbara Crieder and pianist Charles Abramovic.”—Mary Ann McNamee, Penn Sounds

 

            “...heart-on-sleeve...”—Garaud MacTaggart

 

            “… gorgeous melody … this piece will pacify the most frustrated person.”Eleonara M. Beck, Sforzando

 

             “…Noland and Gabel each have compositions on a new CD by violist Rozanna Weinberger and pianist Evelyne Luest called Passion.  Though the disk features works by prominent 20th-century composers Georges Enescu and George Rochberg, the most interesting—and listener-friendly—pieces are Noland’s Romance for Viola & Piano, which evokes a 1920s-style romantic ballad and Gabel’s...”—Brett Campbell, The Eugene Weekly

 

             “Starting slow and tuneful, something you can sing along with, ‘Romance for Viola and Piano’ … takes you back in time to a dimly lit parlor and a couple dancing in evening clothes to the sound of the duo practicing next door. VERY romantic, using lots of ‘old’ technique but managing to be brand new. This piece just rolls off your mind like grape juice rolled on the tongue after being made into a fine wine.”Canary Burton, Alternate Music Press.

 

“Russell Street Rag” (Op. 5):

 

            "...like a classic rag, a composition deliberately in the old style and as good as any of its kind."

—Butch Thompson, The Mississippi Rag

 

            “… Russell Street Rag, written by Gary Noland in 1974 when he was 17, is a classic rag with many Joplin influences that fits well into the nostalgia category of today’s ragtime.”

—Jack Rummel, Program Host, Ragtime America, KGNU 88.5 FM, Boulder CO


 Viennese Nightmare Rag (Op. 4):

 

            "...I believe that Gary Noland's Rags should be immortalized in piano roll form...."—Dick Zimmerman, Rag Times 

 

            "...will probably not interest purists who prefer their ragtime undiluted by outside influences and free of modernisms....Gary Noland's music is complex, technically daunting stuff far beyond the reach of many pianists....Noland's sense of humor shows up in such instructions as 'tempo sarcastico,' 'melodramatico,' and 'vulgarly’....”

—Butch Thompson, The Mississippi Rag

 

“Humoresque” for piano (Op. 3):

 

            "...a witty melange of styles of music..."—The Berkshire Eagle

 

            “…One of the strongest works on the program is Humoresque.…”—American Record Guide

 

“Hollywood Elegies” (Op. 2):

 

         "…I'm amazed at your harmonic skill.  Haven't seen or heard anything like it from any one else—except yours truly—certainly not from your generation.  It falls somewhere between Strauss and Mahler. Especially like how your are able to slip in and out from the tonal to the atonal—or near atonal..."

—George Rochberg, composer, “Father of Neo-Romanticism”

 

            "Best vocal music I've heard in ten years!..."

—Ira Braus, pianist, musicologist, Professor of Music, The Hartt School  

 

“Verborgenheit” for soprano and piano (Op. 1, No. 11):

 

            “…as great as anything by Wagner!”Leon Kirchner, composer, Professor Emeritus, Harvard University                                 

            “…a delightful evening’s entertainment … worthy of repeated hearings.”

—Phillip George, Happy Music, News and Reviews.

 

“Burlesque” for piano (Op. 1, No. 20):

            

            "...the product of a very often tonal chromatic style, gentle, but with moments of coyness...possessed of a cheery quality, sometimes bumblingly good-natured—with forays into sharp dissonance..."

—Richard Binder, The Nashua Telegraph