Reviews and Comments
Specific Compositions (alpahbetical)
- bellyloops: "According to my personal interpretation, this is a 'field recording' of someone being chased by a chupacabra. Just when he thinks he has lost the monster and everything will be okay, it reappears suddenly and pounces and...the rest is pretty grisly, so I will leave it up to your imagination (as does the composer)."
--Rain God's Picks on mp3.com
- Brand 9 From Outer Space: "Journey to this fellow's page, and you'll find --among much else, a lot of it very tasty-- a couple of car horn symphonies, which (if I'm reading the notes correctly) were performed and conducted in a parking lot in Trenton, New Jersey, with an orchestraconsisting of... parked cars. THIS piece isn't like that. But it's real good anyway, despite the fact that the musicians are all playing actual musical instruments. And if you'd like to play along, there's a link that will allow you to download the score."
--Radio Plan 9 on mp3.com
- Car Horn Symphony No. 1: "beep beep beep. you CAN make music out of ANYTHING, anywhere."
--myra ellen moo's fluffy thingie on mp3.com
- Car Horn Symphony No. 2: "I own a CD featuring a Car Horn Organ. This is not that, not even similar in fact, but the point is that yes, car horns make perfectly good musical instruments. The evidence accumulates, in spite of the not entirely pleasant circumstances under which we often hear them. Dennis says he had a lot of fun writing this. It sounds like the players and conductor had a lot of fun. Now the only missing ingredient is YOU. Listen and I think you will have fun, too!"
--Rain God's Picks on mp3.com
- Crosscut: "Crosscut is a 20-minute concerto for piano and winds with a gratifying shape: the three movements are loud/soft/loud, but contain enough recurring figures to suggest the sense of a one-movement work. Once again, the piece starts off with rather minimalist repeated chords and arpeggios, but becomes so rhythmically complex in the piano and dissonant in the brass as to gradually give a more muscular impression. Then, after an abrupt cutoff comes an almost stationary slow movement with a couple of rhythmically complex figures that keep recurring every few measures. The unity they produce is remarkable, though the repetitions are too complex to become predictable. The third movement smoothly quotes material from both its predecessors. If Bathory-Kitsz’s style varies considerably from work to work, each movement is always unified by a clear concept.".
--Kyle Gann, Chamber Music Magazine
- Csárdás: "Immediately compelling ... The almost demonic qualities and grand proportions of the work evoke memories of ... Franz Liszt."
- Detritus of Mating: "Adding to the [Pavel Kraus at Bond Gallery] show's ambience was a sound component, an almost ecclesiastical compositon with several movements of altered voices by new-music composer and frequent Kraus collaborator Dennis Bathory-Kitsz"
--Edward Leffingwell, Art in America
"At the deepest level this music lulls and intrigues, irritates and begs your answers. Ambient for sure ... further than that, always. Growing and moving, wiggling in your ears, this sound creates a basket of safety and insecurity. Knowledge of gods and goddesses way back coming through present life."
--Difficult Listening on RTR Radio, Perth
"Those addicted to the new-music radio show and Web site Bathory-Kitsz cohosts will find interest in his sound sculpture, a sample of which is caught here. Glistening tones ring in the air, bits of deconstructed voices float by, a dark bass pulse starts up that's more felt than heard, in large-scale periodic cycles that would replicate the opening if allowed to continue for some 27 years. You don't get a distinct idea of his creative personality from this first disc, but it's enjoyable how the exquisite rings continually modulate even when nothing seems to be happening."
--Kyle Gann, The Village Voice
- Emerald Canticles, Below:
"There is an ethereal quality to the accompaniment resulting in an effect that is indeed surreal. But, rather than atmospheric, the work is made of clearly delineated lines that, with the work's tightly knit rhythms, lead it to a dramatic climax and coda. The new work proved difficult listening..., but ultimately fascinating."
"What can I say but nice music!"
--Contemporary New Music Radio on mp3.com
- Erzsébet: "A powerful new one-woman opera... The overall effect was powerful, due in large part to the evocative music. The soprano vocal line ranged from lyrical to edgy to forcefully spoken. This was accompanied by a score that ranged from Medieval and Renaissance styles to Hungarian folk melodies to uncomfortable edgy atonal atmospheric moments, all woven itno a very effective whole. The production was sophisticated and elegant."
"It sounds terrific: colorful, mysterious, and very operatic."
--Lisa Hirsch The Iron Tongue of Midnight
- L'Estampie du Chevalier: "Bathory-Kitsz can also exhibit intense single-mindedness. One of my favorite of his works is his third string quartet titled L’Estampie du Chevalier (2005), a breezy essay in endless melody. Two of the strings (and which two they are keeps changing) are always playing a duo melody in ever-changing note values with insouciant disregard for the bar line, while the other two appear and disappear, punctuating or filling in with running eighth notes or pizzicato double-stops. It’s a single thirteen-minute idea played out with very little change yet continually self-renewing variety, one of the most unified quartet movements you’ll ever hear."
--Kyle Gann, Chamber Music Magazine
- Eventide: "Perhaps the most colorful use of the instruments was by ... composer Dennis B&aathory-Kitsz ... the three pieces form his eight-part "Eventide" employed piccolo, small clarinet and contrabassoon. The composer explored the contrasting sounds emanating from this unusual combination in a surprisingly consonant and attractive way. The moods ranged from hauntingly beautiful to exciting."
- Exequy: "A dark and powerful homage ... a strident brass shell driven from within by quieter, more complex and precise sounds."
- Fanfare:Heat: "Bathory-Kitsz's "Fanfare: Heat," written for the VYO, was also complex. At some 11 minutes long, it's a short work but a lot happens. Opening brilliantly, it begins a journey, first a turgid one, then a more joyful one, building all the time to a brilliant finale. The harmonic language and rhythms were spicy and occasionally jarring, but Peters and his young players managed them with feeling. It was quite exciting."
- Fuliginous Quadrant: "Fuliginous Quadrant for violin, cello, clarinet, and piano is written almost entirely in the A-harmonic-minor scale, yet every one of its texturally varied phrases cadences on a high F in the violin, which really messes with your large-scale perception of the tonality."
--Kyle Gann, Chamber Music Magazine
- I think of thee!: "It’s most unusual, when there is music by justly famous composers on a program, that the highlight of a concert is a new work by a local composer. But that’s just what happened at Friday’s Vermont Virtuosi concert, “Poetic License,” at Montpelier’s Bethany Church. Northfield composer Dennis Báthory-Kitsz’s “I Think of Thee!” which received its premiere, proved a beautiful and powerful experience. Báthory-Kitsz set the Elizabeth Barrett Browning poem, from “Songs of the Portuguese XXIX,” unusually for soprano, bass flute and guitar, hence a truly exotic feel. More importantly, the work exudes the rich depth of emotion of the poem. Soprano Gail Whitehouse delivered the simple lyrical melody line with a quietly nuanced expressiveness. Underscoring that line was the soft bassoon-like warmth of Laurel Ann Maurer’s bass flute and the driving punctuation of Peter Matthews’ guitar. What made this largely tonal song riveting were the richly undulating sounds of the bass flute and guitar behind the haunting but inviting vocal line."
--Barre-Montpelier Times-ArgusIcecut: "He was full of energy and excitement, which would be a good way to describe his piece "Icecut," too. The music had some demanding string writing, which the players handled like a shortstop making a tough play look easy. I was really thrilled to hear such high quality music."
--David Ludwig, composer, in his blog
"It was Bathory-Kitsz's 10-minute work, commissioned by the VSO, that proved most striking. Beginning with a darkly driving force of strings, the brass introduces a haunting melody, then taken up by the strings; the strings subside, becoming a restless bed for the exuberant brass; the cellos take over, receding to a quiet but relentless agitation so a gentle woodwind melody can be heard above; the violins take over with cellos and basses continuing to provide a driving rhythm; all builds to a grand moment – then subsides and fades out. ... The work proved compelling, and its nature could easily have been inspired by Vermont's difficult winters. The work is largely tonal and accessible despite some intricate writing. But most important, its driving force – loud or quiet – compels the listener to go along for the ride, a quite exciting one."
- Into the Morning Rain:
Broadcast January 17, 2001, on Dutch Radio 4 Live, "A New Stage"
"A fascinating and earthy work ... its quiet drive and gentle rhythm seduced the listener into an almost primal state. Báthory-Kitsz continues to be one of the state's most fascinating and sophisticated composers."
"This is an A-1 Blue-ribbon piece of music. Download it!"
--Psycronic Oscillations on mp3.com
- The Lily and the Thorn: "The audience warmly applauded the difficult and modern work ... after the concert, people could be heard talking about the new work throughout the hall."
- LiquidBirds: "LiquidBirds proved beautiful in its sound and sound movement. ... This work, like most of the composer's, had the feel of form, and gave the listener something to hold onto. The result was beautiful music."
- Llama Butter: "Nothing even comes close to the uniqueness of Llama Butter... It is a fascinating study in multi-media for the tuba... New music fans would love this work and it deserves more performances."
--Mark Nelson, Tuba Review
- LowBirds: "Wind and piano gestures flit through this 'mysterious soundscape.'"
--Chamber Music Features on mp3.com
- Meta-Dream Twice: "Although a knotty work, its linear simplicty and straightforward nature made it attractive and rewarding."
- Mirrored Birds: "It would be possible for a 30-minute piece that lacks the formal trappings of melodic development (or even much melody at all) to be, well, boring. But [the composer's] 'Mirrored Birds' didn't strike us that way at all. ... the horns and especially the timpani were extremely busy (in a quiet way) ... the flute solo was a virtual sonic aviary of birdcall."
--The Herald of Randolph
- Mountain Dawn Fanfare: "Start your day the mountain way, with this serene fanfare for winds."
--Symphonic Features on mp3.com
- No Money (Lullaby for Bill): "A symphonic piece made entirely out of a speech by bill gates by a very talented composer."
--Recombinant Sounds on mp3.com
"En perle fra øresneglen! Marvellous collaboration & a masterpiece!"
--Anne Sophie Bertelsen, composer
"Dennis Báthory-Kitsz ... known for his thorny music, surprised with the premiere of his ethereally beautiful 'O: 11 Choruses,' of which seven were performed. Here again, a wide variety of styles was employed in these settings of poems by Gary Barwin. ... interior machinations — often very complex — flowed under the music’s seemingly tonal flow. 'The Birds' was hauntingly lyrical; quietly clashing harmonies made 'Sparrow’s Song' haunting; a sustained bass by the men with lyricism from the women above made 'Fish' 'swim'; and the music of the text created the final chorale of 'Regret.'
- O Vox Pop
"The VCME premiered one of its own commissions, 'O Vox Pop,' a spicy confection by Northfield composer Dennis Báthory-Kitsz. Klimowski on bass clarinet and Elliott on bassoon enjoyed the wonderful colors of the lyrical first part, as well as the light chase of the second. It was more than fun it was expertly written."
"Largely uncharacteristic of the skillful composer, best know for his well-crafted but complex and difficult music, the two-movemente work ... was lovely and lyrical -- but, of course, not all that simple."
- Somnambula: "The best works [at the New York Avant-Garde Festival] were the biggest and the smallest... [The composer] sat far out in a field playing a recorder, accompanied by a tinny cassette machine... The effect was like a Chinese Pan."
--John Rockwell, The New York Times
- Sourian Slide:
"Sublimely beautiful is the only way to describe Sourian Slide for strings ... also heard for the first time ... it builds quietly and achieves a quiet but powerful drama with ne'er a loud note. Pretty tonal for Bathory-Kitsz, who frequently writes difficult and cutting-edge music, Sourian Slide is splendidly written."
"Lose yourself in this..."
--Consolations on mp3.com
- Starry Night "Another big success was the premiere of Northfield composer Dennis Báthory-Kitsz’s hauntingly beautiful 2007 “Starry Night.” The atmospheric work opens with dark bass notes setting the scene, with “stars” appearing and “sparkling”, asymmetrically working their way through the night. Pepper showed real sensitivity toward this short but attractive work, using excellent tonal control descriptively.
- Teething Rings: "A room full of screaming babies and a nanny with not enough teething rings to go around. An avant-garde 'classic' in the fluxus tradition."
--There is No Radio on mp3.com
- Thièle: "Clearly the work that stretched its audience the most was Kitsz's powerful Thièle for quarter-tone violin. [It] took some getting used to. People do get used to it: Some even thought that the slow movement was traditionally whole- and half-tone..."
- A Time Machine: "[The] composer went for broke with [the] ambitious work for nine musicians that alternates sung verse with orchestral improv, ancient sounds and avant-garde ones."
--Burlington Free Press