Copyright © 2019 by Crystal A. Frost

REVIEWS

Air

“Ian Krouse is a Californian composer for guitar and other instruments (Wikipedia reveals an opera on Garcia Lorca); evidently eclectic, as his Air had an Irish tang in the lie of its melody; this too had its origin for flute and guitar and was more than comfortable in this perfectly idiomatic and charming account for violin and guitar.”

 

Lindis Taylor, MIDDLE C, July 26, 2011

Antique Suite

“An interesting work where colorful Renaissance harmonic progressions are given modern resolutions.  The use of the bow in the manner of a viol da gamba and the percussive effects produced by the fingers on the bridge add richness and variety to the work.  The L.A. Guitar Quartet gave us a colorful and seductive version of the work.”

GRENOBLES LOISIRS, July 8, 1987

    
    

“The astonishing and beautiful ‘Antique Suite’…was inspired by themes of the German Renaissance.  Although the work is a difficult one the four guitarists rose to the occasion brilliantly.  The first two movements each began with sustained chords produced by drawing a bow across all six strings.”

CORDOBA LOCAL, July 24, 1987

“Ian Krouse’s Antique Suite is a delightfully uninhibited recomposition of music originally written by German Renaissance lutenist Hans Neusidler. The performance began with Kanengiser bowing his guitar to evoke the drone of a hurdy-gurdy; the piece intentionally includes an early-20th-century transcription error that led scholars to believe one of Neusidler’s pieces was the first example of bitonality in music history, and ends with an unexpected quote from Bach’s Third Brandenburg Concerto in homage to a Romero Guitar Quartet performance that had inspired Krouse.”

Scott Cmiel, SAN FRANCISCO PERFORMANCES, January 15, 2011

“The Antique Suite (After Neusidler) by Ian Krouse for example pushed some boundaries with a combination of percussive effects and use of a bow on the guitar to make it sound like a Hurdy Gurdy.  The result was an interesting success.”

Shaun Purkiss, CHAMBER MUSIC NEW ZEALAND, July 28, 2013

Bass Clarinet Concerto

“The focus of the evening was a world premiere of…Ian Krouse.  Krouse’s “Concerto for Bass Clarinet and Orchestra” turned out to be remarkably entertaining.  It began with orchestral chords punctuating a cadenza for the bass clarinet and setting the dark, somber tone which prevails throughout most of the work.  After the opening cadenza begins the movement proper, a technically demanding Allegro molto not let down in intensity for the remainder of the piece.  Krouse features several other instruments in the orchestra and explores others timbres by the addition of two more bass clarinets…as well as other low instruments, such as the contrabassoon.  The lower register of the harp is utilized in unison with the low strings, as well as in solo, for interesting effect.

 

"Instead of contrasting the bass clarinet solo with high, bright instruments, the piece becomes sort of a feature for all the dark, mellow, often overlooked instruments in the orchestra.  Krouse is to be commended not only for his orchestrational skills, but for filling in gaps in the orchestral repertoire and showcasing instruments other than violins and flutes.”

 

Lisa Durbin, USC DAILY TROJAN, October, 1988

 

“The solo part, which the CSO's J. Lawrie Bloom dispatched with staggering virtuosity, has some compelling effects, florid runs and cadenza-like flourishes that knowingly exploit the instrument's carnal low register.”

John von Rhein, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, January 13, 1995

“Bass clarinet is a hard-working orchestra member, but few music lovers have its powerful, dusky tone and supple expression in their ears.  Krouse’s well-crafted concerto was a welcome chance to fill in that blank.  Written in 1987, the 20-minute work is truly a concerto in the sense that it sent soloist and orchestra into sharp dialogue.  Conversational styles were a lively contrast with Bloom speaking most often in lengthy, agile cadenzas and the orchestra answering with sharp, aggressive outbursts.”

Wynne Delacoma, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, January, 1995

Bulerías

“Bulerías has to be mentioned in a separate breath, for it was quite literally breath-taking.  Firmly footed in its Spanish origin, this item proved a true challenge to the members of the quartet.  The difficulties of this marathon piece may not have been readily evident, since they were mostly based on rhythmic intricacies between the four guitarists.  [It] was tailor made for the L.A. Guitar Quartet, or so it seems.  Using a number of minimalist devices and techniques, the piece very quickly transported the listener beyond the state of ordinary excitement into a realm of hypnotic suspension. As the piece came to a close, I had the sense of exhausted exhilaration over having been returned to earth in one piece.  I shall not forget this experience any time soon.”

 

SOUNDBOARD, Fall, 1989

 

 

“a piece with fabulous textures…absorbing, brutal, beautiful, and harsh, all at the same time.”

 

SOUNDBOARD, Winter, 1989-90

 

“...an impressive example…written especially for four guitars embodies the passion and anguish of the gypsies…[it] incorporated flamenco guitar techniques such as golpe, in which the guitarist strikes the face of the guitar with his hand, and the rasgueado, rapid-fire strumming used to arouse and accompany dancers.  Accented with dissonant, crashing passages, sometimes rhythmically related, sometimes at odds, the work gradually evolved into a beautifully harmonic, layered patterns, performed with great spirit.”

 

Karen Knutson, ARKANSAS GAZETTE, February 21, 1990

 

“...explores the obsessive side of flamenco in sweaty volleys of iterative chords, building impressively…it lives on rhythmic interplay, and the collisions of granitic harmonies and primal motivic fragments, all fiercely projected here.”

 

John Henken, LOS ANGELES TIMES, March 23, 1991

Cuando se abre en la mañana

“Cuando se abre en la mañana,” a brief setting of a García Lorca poem…uses a simpler tonal language but rises impressively to an agitated climax.  Alba Quezada sang…with focused lyricism and playfulness with guitarist Terry Graves supporting eloquently.”

 

Timothy Mangan, LOS ANGELES TIMES, January 17, 1991

Cinco Canciones Insólitas

“Ian Krouse’s “Cinco Canciones Insólitas” (Five Peculiar Songs) received its world premiere….Krouse has found haunting lyric and dramatic melodies to texts by Federico García Lorca, ranging from hopelessness over unrequited love to a lullaby that warns a lover because the woman’s husband is in the house…and detailed word setting. They were richly sung by LA Opera Suzanna Guzman. Fulfilling the composer’s aim of writing 'chamber music with voice, rather than accompanied songs', Guzman sat among her Debussy colleagues.”

 

Chris Pasles, LOS ANGELES TIMES, October 23, 1999

 

“Ian Krouse’s [Cinco] “Canciones Insólitas” (two sultry Spanish songs) with soprano Susan Alexander…rounded out this fascinating concert.”

 

Timothy Mangan, LOS ANGELES TIMES – ORANGE COUNTY, November 12, 1994

 

 

“Songs based on Lorca received vibrant, sinuous, utterly idiomatic performances by Suzanna Guzman…”

 

Gene Warech, DRAMA-LOGUE, July 15-21, 1993

“a haunting [set] of Spanish songs, one lonely and mournful, the other sporting a very busy yet effective backing toccata.”

 

Richard S. Ginell, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, September/October, 1993

 

“the most distinctive of the new music, greatly aided by the suitably sinuous and smoldering work of mezzo Suzanna Guzman.  Krouse has long been inspired by the poetry of Lorca, and these cleanly structured, pseudo-Andalusian gems have the benefit of unforced simplicity.”

 

John Henken, LOS ANGELES TIMES, June 23, 1993

Cantar de Los Cantares

“Krouse, who teaches at UCLA, wrote his Cantar de los Cantares, adapted from a Spanish translation of the Biblical Song of Songs, for Rivera, upon her request.  The two-part piece for soprano, piano and clarinet makes uses of spacious, Coplandesque harmonies with hints of Spanish flavoring. Sections that are regal and deliberately paced give way to passionately flowing melodies, and Krouse intermingles the piano, clarinet and voice parts skillfully.  The piece is nicely tailored to Rivera, who was able to show considerable vocal and emotional range in this accessible and melodic…work.”

Joshua Rosenbaum, OPERA NEWS ONLINE, March, 2009

Da Chara

“Finishing the programme with a piece by American composer Ian Krouse, Owen Moriarty assured us that this was one of the easier Krouse pieces to play – its title Da Chara, is Gaelic for “Two Friends”, and was, like the pieces by Almer Imamovic, written originally for flute and guitar. Its ostensible “Gaelic” character could be discerned in the free and airy opening melodic phrasings from the violin, with their occasional rhythmic snap, the guitar taking over with a solo, then joined by the violin to repeat the opening melody – very attractive ‘filmic” kind of music and skilfully realised. The guitar began a march-rhythm, joined by the violin, the players further energising the music with a wild, reel-like dance, the players letting their hair down in great style, Rupa Maitra catching the folk-fiddle aspect of the music nicely, and Owen Moriarty generating surges of energy from his instrument.”

 

Peter Mechen, MIDDLE C, September 7, 2010

 “These musicians show that very listenable programmes can be built with music written by living composers from all over the world, including some who are their friends.  (All of it has been arranged for this combination from other originals). The names Krouse and Imamovic, as well as Ritchie, and some of the same music – Da Chara for example – have appeared in their earlier concerts. The latter piece, by Ian Krouse, began with a deliberate or accidental hesitation, but it seemed altogether in keeping with its subdued Irish accents, with hesitant rhythms, the slight fragility in the violinist’s playing, evolving towards the end into a faster dance.”

 

Lindis Taylor, MIDDLE C, March 7, 2012

“Ian Krouse’s Air had all the poignancy and timelessness of any other Gaelic tune I’ve ever heard, either traditional or more recently composed. Captured well by him and rendered effortlessly and hauntingly by our violin and guitar soloists on the day.”

Jefferson Chapple, MIDDLE C, April 26, 2013

“Their opening number Da Chara (Gaelic for Two Friends), by North American composer Ian Krouse (1956-), was unmistakably traditionally Irish, as lingering melodies returned time and again with variations, to finally culminate in an energetic reel.”

Elizabeth Bouman, MIDDLE C, April 26, 2013

Fantasía Federico García Lorca

“Krouse obviously has a good ear for a good Lorca tune, and he knows how to transform them into skillfully organized, driving movements loaded with Spanish color and disdainful of what passes for current fashion.  Watch this man.”

 

Richard S. Ginell, DAILY NEWS, May 15, 1986

 

“Fantasa: Federico García Lorca” draws on Spanish tunes used by Lorca and Falla, deftly orchestrated in an appealing popular vein.  Stravinsky and Copland can be heard in it, as can Falla, Torroba and Rodrigo…an attractive orchestral vehicle, and the audience in Ambassador Auditorium clearly enjoyed it…a zesty, evocative performance.

 

John Henken, LOS ANGELES TIMES, MAY 15, 1986

 

“haunting in spots, hypnotic in others, and rhythmically compex throughout”

 

Robert D. Thomas, PASADENA STAR-NEWS, May 15, 1986

 

Folías

“an effective piece that exploits the sound-colors possible with four guitars.”

 

Sue Taylor, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, October 5, 1992

 

“Folías” draws its inspiration from a harmonic scheme of Corelli’s.  The fascination of “Folías” turns on Krouse’s ability to set Corelli’s 200-year-old scheme into variations the quartet can delineate and an audience can grasp.  The Krouse comes off more successfully for its textures (quite nice)…”

 

Jack Neal, RENO-GAZETTE, November, 1992

 

“takes one of the most famous tunes of all times…and makes a fantastic set of variations on it.”

 

Glenn Giffin, DENVER POST, November 19, 1992

 

 

“[Folías]is, in short, the selection where the guitarists could best show how advanced their technique really was.”

 

Lyman Pitman, THE CHIEFTAIN, Pueblo, Colorado, November 18, 1992

 

 “[Folías] takes one of the most famous tunes of all times – there are more than 1,000 settings – and makes a fantastic set of variations on it;”

 

Glenn Griffin, DENVER POST, November 19, 1992

 

 

“Probably the most challenging work of the evening, for the performers and audience alike, was a contemporary composition entitled, “Folías” by Ian Krouse, a guitarist and composer.  Written especially for the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, the set of variations based on the folia, a Spanish dance, proved to be full of sudden shifts in dynamics, tempo and phrasing.”

 

Jeff Kaczmarczyk, KALAMAZOO GAZETTE, November 20, 1992

 

“…the skillfully constructed “Folías”…”

 

Marc Shulgold, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, November 20, 1992

 

 “Ian Krouse’s “Folías,” his third work written for the quartet, had modern guitar playing with imaginatively dressed older models.  The mainly young audience rewarded the performance with clapping, cheering and joyful shouting.”

BERLINER MORGENPOST, March 30, 1993

 

“Ian Krouse’s “Folías” is a contemporary variations set  on one of the oldest and most beloved themes of guitar literature.  The American’s piece, which featured expressive timbres and minimalistic structures, developed like a reverse time-lapse, and in the end – a la Haydn’s “Farewell Symphony,” the performers exited the stage one at a time.”

 

Gerhard Summer, AKTUELLE KRITIC, 1993

 

“A well-constructed work, it uses the popular medieval “Folías” melody, barely recognizable some of the time, and quoted it in three well-known forms, including the one by Corelli.”

 

Philippa Kiraly, SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, April 5, 1993

 

 

“a variation set that quotes Renaissance and Baroque versions of the "Folias" theme between more adventurously modern expansions.” 

Allan Kozinn, NEW YORK TIMES, May 28, 1994

 “Los Angeles based guitar composer Ian Krouse’s “Folías” was a throw-back to the Baroque, a set of virtuosic variations on a progression of eight chords.  I’ve never heard a new work cheered that loudly.”

 

Lloyd Dykk, THE VANCOUVER SUN, February 4, 2003

 

“The main part of the second half was taken up with Ian Krouse’s “Folias” – a favourite piece of mine from their recordings and worth a really good listen!”

 

Ivan Andrews, BERKSHIRE GUITAR SOCIETY, July, 2002

 

 

“…the quartet featured a remarkable range of styles in just one piece, the closing item of the concert, Folias by the contemporary composer Ian Krouse.  From the opening chaos there emerged the harpsichord-like trills of 17th century guitarist Gaspar Sanz, with the melody then dissolving as the musicians left the stage, as dictated by the score.”

 

Colin Davison, GLOUCESTERSHIRE ECHO, July 21, 2014

 

“The concert ended with a magnificent surprise: “Folias” by Ian Krouse, a piece lasting over fifteen minutes focused around the motif of the ‘folia,’ an old Portuguese dance.  This composition was very elaborate, multi-dimensional but very difficult technically.  The final performance of the group, as could be expected, was rewarded with great applause, of a truly immense scale. [Translated from Polish]

 

Małgorzata Uchecka KULTURAL, December 3, 2014

Incantation and Fire Dance

“Owen Moriarty, arguably our best guitarist, and violinist Rupa Maitra have amazing flair for innovative music that has instant rhythmic appeal.  Two works by North America’s Ian Krouse have a distinct Middle Eastern folk flavor.”

 

Ian Dando reviews some summery sounds

it is at moments after i have dreamed

"The most memorable performances were of Ian Krouse's “ it is a moment after i have dreamed,” on text by e. e. cummings… Krouse's work, only his second for chorus, is varied, surprising, engaging, and gorgeous, and it here received the kind of premiere that most composers only dream about.”

 

Nick Strimple, AMERICAN CHORAL REVIEW, Fall 2007 

Labryinth

“On fresher turf, Ian Krouse’s “Labyrinth” takes, as a conceptual springboard, the Led Zeppelin song “Friends.” Rather than using the chamber-rock angle as a novelty, a la the Kronos Quartet’s “Purple Haze,” the composer pays due respects to Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page – one of rock’s great exotic riff-makers – by extending the harmonic language of the original tune.  Extra-classical guitar effects abounded, with the use of picks, side and open tuning, and a blues chord progression inserted in the middle…this was a gutsy attempt to bridge different musical worlds.”

 

Josef Woodward, LOS ANGELES TIMES, January, 1996

Lorca, Child of the Moon

“...brilliant 1991 chiaroscuro chamber opera…striking, melismatic arias...”

 

Rob Kendt, BACKSTAGE: LOS ANGELES, October, 1999

Lullaby

“Sometimes the mood was serene (as in Krouse’s “Lullaby,”elaborated from an Irish folk tune);”

 

Andrew Adler, THE COURIER-JOURNAL, November 13, 2000

Mariana Pineda (music for)

“Ian Krouse’s brooding score enhances the nefarious plot as actors break into stark, viscous arias and wails, a natural reaction to the charged emotion playing onstage.”

 

Lawrence Ensoe, DAILY NEW, October 7, 1988

 

“lovely guitar and piano score”

 

LOS ANGELES TIMES, October 21, 1989

Music in Four Sharps

"Home and Abroad begins with one of Ian Krouse’s occasional ensemble works based on existing songs. Previous examples are guitar quartets utilizing themes by Led Zeppelin and a traditional flamenco bulerias. Here the composer turns to a quintet for guitar and string quartet, based this time on one of John Dowland’s most beautiful songs, “Now, O Now, I Needs Must Part” (also known as the Frog Galliard). The result is a fine piece, executed beautifully by Joseph Hagedorn and Leslie Shank with guest artists. It is, by turns, delicate and powerful, with little strains of the Dowland making their way in deliciously. After this, the works use just the duo and are mostly premiere recordings of works written for them. They are all strong, sometimes musically challenging, as in parts of Serenade for Two by Alf Houkom, while at other times quite conservative, and even folklike, particularly in the Three Pieces by Maria Kalaniemi (arranged by Joseph Hagedorn). Having something of a taste for the musically outré, I was looking forward to the curiously named W is for Weasel by David Hahn, and the music does not disappoint. The third movement, which gives the piece its name, is a somewhat manic set of variations on “Pop Goes the Weasel.” Pleasingly weird. The six movements of Javier Contreras’ Suite for violin and guitar are based on Latin American dance rhythms, I particularly enjoyed the rhapsodic “Zamba.” It is a fine work, challenging for both players. Sound is good, but sometimes it reveals a strident tone from Ms. Shank, especially when vibrato gets to louder notes a bit late. The excellent notes include sections contributed by several of the composers."

 

Al Kunze, Soundboard, Vol. 45, No. 3, October 2019

The Journal of the Guitar Foundation of America

 

 

“The second half of their program featured Ian Krouse’s Music In Four Sharps, based on Dowland’s Frog Galliard…”

 

Jim Crowe, “LAGQ At Town Hall” THE GUITAR, June 24, 2014

 

“The second half started with what for me was the high point of the evening, a composition by Ian Krouse after John Dowland’s (c.1600) Frog Galliard entitled Music In Four Sharps.  Tennant played the original lute piece beautifully on the guitar in order to show us what was to be the subject; then the quartet played the Krouse piece which consisted of a confluence of sounds flowing together and pertaining to the Galliard sometimes like birdsong, sometimes like Messiaen and through echoed rasgueados evoking the slight melancholy of last Elizabethan music.  This composition was a masterpiece, beautifully rendered.  John Dowland himself would have thoroughly enjoyed it.”

 

Mike Jones, ROYAL GAZETTE, February 9, 2015

 

“Ian Krouse's "Music in Four Sharps" was a set of variations in search of a theme, which proved to be John Dowland's "Frog Galliard." …by nature somewhat conservative in [its] harmonic language but extremely modern in [its] rhetoric, and the subtle polytonality that arose from the intricate counterpoint…[the composer] wove for the four players.”

Mark Satola, THE PLAIN DEALER, Mar 23, 2015

 

“Two extended works followed intermission. In the first, composer Ian Krouse had set himself the task of writing a piece based on Dowland’s Frog Galliard that never ventured out of the twelve pitches available in the key of E Major. That’s more difficult than it sounds, for most pieces that last fourteen minutes or more, as Music in Four Sharps does, depend on venturing away from the home key and finding a convincing way to return at the end. Krouse developed a clever passacaglia-like format of variations over a recurring pattern borrowed from Dowland. When that idea ran out of steam, he turned to Philip Glass-like repetition, which kept things fresh — and safely in E Major — to the end. LAGQ helped hold everyone’s attention with their rapt, concentrated playing.”

Daniel Hathaway, CLEVELAND CLASSICAL GUITAR SOCIETY, March 24, 2015

“There was a hint of the Renaissance in Warlock’s Capriol Suite arranged by Moriarty, and also Krouse’s Music In Four Sharps.  Both of these works along with others by York and Kindle and Kiwi composers Jack Body and Mike Hogan, provided constant interest because of their complex rhythmic intricacies and beautiful harmonic and melodic ideas, which often took turns fry the unexpected, ensuring the audience was on the edge of their seat.”

Stephen Fisher, MANAWATU STANDARD, September 25, 2015

“Ian Krouse’s Music in Four Sharps (On Dowland’s “Frog Galliard”) is an exciting new work written for the LAGQ. It began with Paul O’Dette sneaking on stage with his lute to play Dowland’s theme before the LAGQ began Krouse’s variation set. It is my hope that the LAGQ continues to tour with this piece, not just because it is well written and well performed, but because for listeners like my friend and myself who were inspired by Krouse’s earlier quartets, this work affords a meaningful connection between both our own and the LAGQ’s past.”

Albert Diaz, ETHNOMUSICOLOGY REVIEW, April 7, 2016

“Ian Krouse based his Music In Four Sharps on Dowland’s Frog Galliard.  The beautiful Renaissance original makes only intermittent appearances that I personally find barely sufficient to provide cohesion thru gout the piece.  Nevertheless the quartet did full justice to the wide range of styles it encompasses, from drifting “hymn-like musing (Krouse), to the build-up of a passionate climax.”

Frances Robinson, CLASSICAL MUSIC REVIEWS, Wellington, New Zealand, September 16, 2015

Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra

“The Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra” was another surprise shocker, fully orchestrated in floods of endlessly varied sound, with Hassan Shahar on display as a shining virtuoso.  Its texture is neither European nor oriental.  All of its difficulties were flung off by Shahara with fearless abandon…a complete work-out for the violin.”

David Blake, AL-AHRAM (Cairo, Egypt), June, 1995

Ritual Fire Dance (by Manuel de Falla, arr. Krouse)

“The showstopping "Ritual Fire Dance" was played in an arrangement by Ian Krouse and was particularly effective”

 

Mark Satola, CLEVELAND CLASSICAL GUITAR SOCIETY, Mar 23, 2015

Romance de la Guardia Civil Española

“Mr. Krouse’s music drew confidently on the 20th-century idiom of blending Spanish folk elements with dissonant harmonies.”

 

Will Crutchfield, NEW YORK TIMES, May 4, 1989

Symphony No. 5

“..vividly scored and powerfully pulsed, but with distinctive worldbeat tinges of its own.”

 

John Henken, LOS ANGELES TIMES, October, 1998

Thamar y Amnón

“the simplicity of arpeggiated figures, viola trills and flute melodies by the flute –

Coupled with Krouse’s sense of timing – produced and attractive framework for a highly evocative piece.”

 

Charles McCardell, THE WASHINGTON POST, November 10, 1997

 

“Following Salzedo’s Complex interpretation of the Debussy was Ian Krouse’s contemporary “Thamar y Amnon”, inspired by Spanish poet federico Garcia Lorca’s vivid tone poem about the lurid story of rape and incest found in the biblical book of Second Samuel. In an ironic twist, King David’s conniving son Amnon is represented by the lovely, com-hither voice of the flute. Amnon’s half-sister, Tamar, whom he invites into his bedroom under the pretense that he is sick and needs food, is played by the viola. Appropriately the harp tells of the complexities and contradictions of King David.
For anyone who thinks music cannot be graphic the brilliant interactions of flutist Laura Gilbert, violist Mary Hammann and harpist Stacey shames easily dispel such a belief.”

 

Harold Duckett, OAK RIDGE TIMES

Tientos

 “In Ian Krouse's passionately melancholy "Tientos," flamenco music becomes the focal point of an attractive five-part fantasy for string trio and flute. On Sunday, Pacific Serenades presented the world premiere of the work in a bold and satisfying afternoon concert in the Emerald Room of the Biltmore Hotel. From its relentless, opening rhythmic ostinatos, to more sustained and contrapuntal sections, through an extended flute cadenza and then a recapitulation of the first part, the 22-minute work explores flamenco guitar riffs and the melismatic improvisations of a flamenco singer. The score also favors the darker, mystical mood of the folk style.Krouse, a guitarist as well as composer, carefully blends the tonal Spanish idioms with Stravinskyan dissonances and harmonies. The neoclassical, quasi-minimalist result is pleasantly unpredictable as well as inventive, fresh and tightly organized. Mark Carlson, artistic director of Pacific Serenades, performed the difficult flute part--which includes a razzle-dazzle cadenza--with aggressive but controlled elan. The rest of the ensemble--violinist Connie Kupka, violist Michael Nowak and cellist David Speltz--provided a sturdy, reliable accompaniment.”

Gregg Wager, LOS ANGELES TIMES, April 17, 1991

Trí Chairde

“Trí Chairde by Ian Krouse brought the concert to a rousing end, piccolo leading the way into an Irish reel.”

 

OCTAGON MUSICAL SOCIETY, March 12, 2017

Trio for Three Guitars

“The Trio for Three Guitars” by the American Ian Krouse turned out to be a captivating piece, compact and strongly set up with a very effective use of the three instruments.  Sparkling arpeggios and many contrasts made these miniature pieces a real pleasure.”

 

ALGAMEEN DAGBLAD, 1981

 

“very resourceful”

 

STUTTGARTER ZEITUNG, 1981

 

“Mr. Krouse composed an imaginative and virtuosic Trio especially for his ensemble.”

 

Tim Page, THE NEW YORK TIMES, May 13, 1984

Tres Canciones Sobre Lorca

“Suzanna Guzman, who was presented at Weill Recital Hall…divided her program between excerpts from Ian Krouse’s “Child of the Moon,” a multi-media work based on the life and poetry of García Lorca…Mr. Krouse’s music drew confidently on the 20th century idiom of blending Spanish folk elements with dissonant harmonies.”

 

Will Crutchfield, THE NEW YORK TIMES, May 4, 1989

Trois Tableaux d'Andersen

“One of the most interesting items in her programme was “Trois Tableaux d’Andersen” by Ian Krouse, who dedicated it to her.  The work was written in 1982 for the annual competition for new guitar music sponsored by Radio, France, where it became one of the finalists.  Although he has written major works for the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, this is his only completed work for solo guitar.  Each of its three movements is a tone poem in miniature, inspired by a well-known fairy tale of Hans Christian Andersen.  The work is not strictly programmatic but rather a set of lingering impressions of these wonderful stories.  The first piece, ‘Le Rossignol,’ (the nightingale), juxtaposes fast, busy sections which conjure up images of the hustle and bustle of the court of the mythical Chinese emperor, with lyrical episodes and murmuring cadenzas depicting the elusive beauty of the nightingale.  In the second movement, ‘La Petite Fille aux Allumettes,’ (the little match girl), eerie pianissimo tremolos evoke the dying little girl’s futile efforts to warm herself with her few remaining matches.  At the very end of the piece one can hear the last one flicker and then suddenly go out, leaving nothing but the freezing darkness of the night of New Year’s Eve.  The final movement, ‘Les Souliers Rouges,’ (the red shoes), starts with a mysterious cadenza in which sounds of hymn singing and church bells soon give way to a macabre waltz, whose dynamic momentum dominates the rest of the movement.  These pieces were originally written for six-string guitar but have been adapted for Agnes Narciso’s eight-string instrument. Usually Miss Narciso narrates the tales when she plays them in concert, and combined with her fairy-like appearance she knows how to create an atmosphere of delicate intimacy.  It is one of the most formidable guitar pieces in the repertoire, both because of its epic musical scope and its relentless virtuosity.”

 

Bauke Oosterhout, CLASSICAL GUITAR, March, 1989

Villançicos, Book I

“The emancipation process for both musicians, however, reached its peak in Ian Krouse’s “Villançicos,” which places 15th-century Spanish texts in a refreshingly oblique modern idiom.”

 

Charles McCardell, WASHINGTON POST, February 21, 1992

 

“Villançicos, Book I,” a setting of 15th-Century Spanish poems for soprano and guitar, is written in a recognizably Spanish tinged musical language.  But the strumming guitar music quickly goes astray into dissonance, halts, starts over and loses its way again.  The soprano line floats perilously above in filigree, nervously stretching out single words, breaking into spoken recitation.  Alba Quezada sang…with focused lyricism and playfulness with guitarist Terry Graves supporting eloquently.”

 

Timothy Mangan, LOS ANGELES TIMES, January 17, 1991