Critical acclaim for The Music of David Gaines

Reviews of the original 2001 release (MMC Recordings MMC2113)

• Symphony No. 1 (“Esperanto”) for mezzo-soprano & orchestra (1994-98)
• Concerto for euphonium & orchestra (1986-87)

Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra (Czech Republic)
Vít Micka, conductor
Jíři Vydra, euphonium
Kimball Wheeler, mezzo-soprano

Euphonium Concerto:
“The euphonium concerto is beautiful. Gaines gives us sections where just the sound of this sweet instrument floats through the room, and other times when the range of its ability to work with an orchestra is explored. I expect to listen to the euphonium concerto over and over.”
– G. Weidman/

“. . . . the sort of animated and agile territory that euphoniums enjoy and do so well. This is an enjoyable piece that could well be widely harvested by players the world over. Its performance — bright and clear — seems confident, as if the players liked it too. . . .”
– Patric Standford/Music & Vision

“A substantial work for the euphonium....logical and well-proportioned writing in the solo lines....The writing matches the euphonium’s skills well.”
– Adam Frey/Guide To The Euphonium Repertoire

“. . . .[a] grand and ambitious composition. Gaines has given the Esperanto community another monument which shows the manifestation of the potential we all assert. . . .Previously, Lou Harrison’s noble work La Koro-Sutro and Nanne Kalma’s Eŭropo-Trilogio have been the only recorded compositions of large proportion which utilize Esperanto texts. Now Gaines has contributed another major work which can hold its own against any other modern symphony. . . .Gaines has unmistakably found his own voice with a distinct personality and a spirit rooted in the branch of the Western classical tradition which values music as an aesthetic experience — this music is pleasant and aims to caress rather than attack the ear.”
– Miko Sloper/EsperantoUSA

“ In its successive movements, [the symphony] unites heroism, fate and affirmation, climaxing in a moment of haunting transcendence, proclaiming that all men are brothers. . . . Noted mezzo-soprano Kimball Wheeler, who made her 1982 New York Philharmonic debut under the direction of Zubin Mehta, adds the perfect element: sublime and fragile, her voice underpins the structure providing a solid reinforcement to the constructs that surround her. . . Fluent in [Esperanto] himself, Gaines has an apparent understanding [of] how it sounds to the listener and uses this as yet another instrument in his symphony. What could have been jarring and inaccessible is, instead, both inviting and haunting. Without knowing Esperanto at all, I understood every word Ms. Wheeler sang. This is poetry at its most elemental.”
– James Landon Jones/

“. . . . an array of colourful ideas and some very imaginative orchestration.”
– Patric Standford/Music & Vision

“ Thank you for writing such beautiful music for the voice.”
– Kimball Wheeler/mezzo-soprano; former voice faculty, California Institute of the Arts

Both pieces:
“. . . .intense orchestration. . . .”
– NewMusicBox/American Music Center

“. . . . extraordinary talents. . . . I was fascinated by your sense of color for the orchestra and highly skilled handling of the large structure. You are a very talented composer.”
– Mark Allen McCoy/Music Director, Loudoun (Va.) Symphony Orchestra

“ This is very attractive music. The concerto (think of a chubby trombone, or a slightly anorexic tuba), is in the same neo-classical idiom as the symphony. . . .Without ever sounding like a pastiche of styles, Gaines' music succeeds in creating its own approachable style, with impressive lyricism in slow movements and a real sense of power and purpose throughout both works.”
– Records International