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david means composition projects
reviews
Critical Review of David Means

"Music for voices, instruments and performance systems.  This cat may be an actual academic-conscious
'composer' working w/noise and pencil to paper composition.  What he has created is an extraordinary 2 pieces of
junk-noise amp blow w/ constructed lines of gradation - giving this music a certain sense of personal consideration
which, at times, and this is well one of those times, is a right-on move."
Thurston Moore, Sonic Youth (2001 CD review of "Stanton Airfield Land/Forms", re-released on Freedom From
label - FF00063)

"Means' sculptural scores are like elaborate sets for a musician/performer. "KIOSK", for instance, is a free-standing
structure, with notation on its surface and mobiles within it that alter a player's choice of notes in response to the
wind from his instrument.  The largest and most complex of these works, "The Gnomes of Zurich",  for wind
instruments, outdoor plaza and portable electronics, was installed at the Federal Reserve Bank as part of the 1980
New Music America Festival.  The movement of his earlier kinetic works has, in a sense, been translated in
movement for dancers, actors and musicians in his recent collaborative multimedia productions.  The latest, "In
and (Always) Out of Order", featured dance, theater and video, simultaneously happening in two locations."
Steven A. Kvaal in City Pages (May, 1984)


"Ultimately, David's piece allowed me to look at the possibilities of a closer relationship to the sounds around me. I
won't ever be able to listen to the falls again and not think of it as music.
JoAnne Makela in The Northfield News (June, 1992 on "Cannon River Wave/Forms")


"And you could walk away,too, to chase down a child or chat with a neighbor, or stroll on to the next music station.
The four stations, set into the sharp angles of the walls along the Cannon, were far enough apart so that usually
you could hear only one, though from the pedestrian bridge where people often lingered, you could hear snatches
of all four...And indeed the music, which might be intimidating in a concert hall, was instead intriguing, even
relaxing, beside the river."
Kate Gardner in The Northfield News (June, 1992 on "Cannon River Wave/Forms")


"Stylistically the opera owes much to Philip Glass; the music typically consists of thematic building blocks that are
repeated exactly or with variations, thereby generating relatively long sequences.  But it's clear that Means does
not intend anything in the opera to be taken literally as drama; it would be more accurate to describe the work as a
re-enactment of ritual in which repetition plays a symbolic role.  Baritone David Harris and soprano Monica Maye
were excellent as the hunter and maiden, Georgia Stephens was consistantly effective as the dancer, and the
three offstage musicians - Regina Zakrajsek, Homer Lambrecht and Severin Hiller Behnen - played with spirit.  
Dianne Beitz's narrration was impeccably clear...It's an appealing work, and it received a solid performance Friday."
Roy M. Close in The St. Paul Pioneer Press and Dispatch (April, 1989 review of "In the Forest of Symbols")


The Dutch journalist Rene van Peer described the amplified graphic score to Strange Attractors (Stroomhuis) as
"...a kind of library of interesting sounds and notational resourses which the performer accesses according to his
fancy and curiosity."  (Geldlander Dagblad, April, 1997)

After the dusk performance of In the Garden of Voices, John Killackey told writer-choreographer Georgia Stephens
that her narration was the best example of environmental performance text he had heard, but that she was NOT to
stand on the Tony Smith sculpture again at the dawn performance. (Walker Art Center commission for the festival
"At Dawn and At Dusk", August, 1995)
David Means' review of Dan Senn in Public
Art Review Vol. 11 #22
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Ventos 434 from "Roland's Ghost"