(and other endorsements)
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from Linda Ronstadt radio interview:
- Re: QUINTET FOR GLASS AND STRINGS
"Garry's piece is so wonderful... the quintet that he wrote for armonica and string quartet, it's just one of my favorite things on the record. I love the way the piece moves, and I love the fact that he knows the properties of the armonica so well... When you write for the glass, and let it do what it can do so beautifully, and surround it with things that flatter it and that it flatters in return, it's really an extraordinary thing... This piece was so well done. I love it. I don't get tired of it."
- Re: Eister's orchestration of Faure's PAVANE
"It [Faure's Pavane] always haunted me, my whole life, so I wanted to hear it as a vocal piece, as a vocal duet with the Cristal. Garry was amazingly accommodating... he was just wonderful. He's a very good orchestrator, and so we wound up with a lovely orchestration and a completely unique approach to this piece of music."
Linda Ronstadt speaking on Afternoon Classics with Marisa Waddell, 9/30/03
KCBX, San Luis Obispo, CA
"I first met Garry in, I believe, 1973. Soon afterwards we began working
together in the ensemble The San Andreas Fault, a group that performed
extensively in California and in Great Britain, Scandanavia, and Western
Europe. Garry also toured with me in my ensemble The Daniel Lentz Group. In about 1980 or '81 Garry went off on his own and has enjoyed considerable success, especially as a composer of rich harmonic musics. His recent work continues in this vein... it is beautiful, even when it is not necessarily pretty. It has a strong historical foundation, and often a spiritual one as well. A passing phrase might intuitively show a glimpse of Machaut while sitting in a sonic field of lush 9th chords/harmonies. Always a skilled and knowledgeable performer, Garry's compositions are always "performer friendly," even when he asks performers to do things that are wildly different from what performers are usually asked to do. Most importantly, his music sounds like it is made in California.... as Debussy's sounds Parisian, or Webern's sounds Viennese. And because his music reflects the whole of Western music from the medieval to the present, it is perhaps safe to call him a "postmodern reconstructionist" composer; certainly one of the most important of his generation."
Daniel Lentz, personal endorsement, 1/22/00
- "Garry is a superb modern 'classical' composer...."
George Massenburg on MusicPlayer.com Expert Forum
internet discussion group, 11/10/01
Print and online reviews:
re: "Chasing Light"
"And in Garry Eister's semidissonant "Chasing Light," the gritty sound and dark, bracing quality of the guitar was revealed."
Edward Ortiz in the Sacramento Bee, 1/18/10 on a performance by the SAN FRANCISCO GUITAR QUARTET at the Davis Art Center, Davis, CA
re: "Fantasia on a Traditional Persian Song"
- "For his guitar Fantasia, Eister not only listened to many recordings of the song Morgh-eh-Sahar (Bird of Dawn) and the extraordinary improvisiations of setar master Hossein Alizadeh, but also met with a local performer. The resulting piece beautifully captures the spirit of the Persian setar, the drones, ornaments and even the characteristic korons that Eister achieves by retuning several strings in two sections to accomodate the tune in its original Persian mode. He has created not only a fine new work of world music for guitar, which joins his recent tribute to Korea, Arirang and Sanjo for National Steel Guitar, and Iraq, I'll never Play like Munir Bashir, a monody for mariachi-style vihuela, but also has given another option to those guitarists that already play Koyunbaba.
John Schneider in CLASSICAL GUITAR magazine, March 2005
"The distinctive tones of the seh-tar (a native Persian instrument) ring in a world of bardic minstrelsy, deep and powerful in feeling, redolent of the epic history of an old civilization. Other pieces, Gozaar and Fantasia on a Traditional Persian Song, albeit recently composed, transmit the essence of a music refined over the centuries. Two technical innovations, the use of fretlets (small frets) and new techniques of retuning in the midst of a composition, facilitate the use of quarter tones, which enable the guitar to speak with an expressive voice outside the familiar."
Robert Schulslaper in FANFARE magazine, Nov.-Dec., 2006
"Nothing prepared me, however, for the fantastic Fantasia on a Traditional
Persian Song. Composed by Garry Eister, it is, in his words, a Westerner's travel tale of an enriching and exciting first visit to a new musical culture. Yes, he too wrote it for Afshar, and she does wonders with all the subtleties of his music- the sudden stops, the whispers, the joy of soaring to the light."
Albert Simon in UHF MAGAZINE, September, 2006
The heart of the record is the double serving of "Fantasia on a Traditional Persian Song," written by Garry Eister for Afshar, followed by the song it was based on, "Morg-eh-Sahar" (Bird of Dawn) which she strums convincingly on the traditional Persian setar, a breath of fresh folk-like air that joyfully breaks the contemporary spell for a few minutes yet lends itself wonderfully to the rest of the program's exotic flavor.
Ellis in AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, September/October 2007
Its rich resonance and improvisatory character is directly inspired by the improvisations of the Seh-tar (a traditional Persian instrument with a long, thin neck, small body and four strings) masters, and just how close Eister manages to get to the spirit of this music is demonstrated by the next work, (the melody of which is directly quoted by Eister), Morteza Neydavood's Morgh-eh-Sahar (Bird of Dawn), which Ms. Afshar plays on a Seh-tar."
William Yeoman on www.classicalsource.com 8/21/06
Afshar also performed an ancient Persian folk song "Morgh-eh-Sahar (Bird of Dawn)" on the traditional three-stringed Persian lute, the seh-tar. That and the guitar piece that followed, "Fantasia on 'Bird of Dawn,'" by Garry Eister, which explored the tune in imaginative fashion, were highlights of the program.
Sarah Bryan Miller in the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/28/08
more re: "Quintet for Glass and Strings" on CRISTAL: GLASS MUSIC THROUGH THE AGES
- "The album's best moments occur when James and the Emerson String Quartet illuminate Garry Eister's "Quintet For Glass and Strings," with some sparkling rhythms and expressive musical interplay."
MassLive.com (online version of the Union News) 1/27/02
"Eister's piece is far and above my favorite work on the recording... The outer movements of the "Quintet" are rhythmical, pulsing sections that contrast the fuzzy, dreamy texture of the glass with the more fine-grained, down-to-earth string sound. The central movement is a slow, sweet quote of a Mozart aria, twisted just enough to float the listener into a 21st Century orbit."
Marisa Waddell in the KCBX program guide, AIRTIMES, May/June, 2002.
- The album's high points include a traditional Irish Lullaby, and classical pieces by Eister, Mozart and Scarlatti. The Eister Quintet for Glass and Strings moves through various moods. Strings and the armonica weave elegant lines, in counterpoint, creating different movements and moods, showcasing the versatility of the instrument.
Jerry Z. in THE MALAY MAIL, May, 7, 2002
- "... the timbre of the armonica has an ethereal sheen to it, shimmering like resin from nowhere and everywhere all at once. ... The most attractive item is Quintet for Glass and Strings - the Emersons negotiate Garry Eister's jagged rhythms and eclectic harmonics with virtuosity and insight."
Benjamin Chee, The Arts Magazine- Singapore, May-June 2002
re: Arrangement of Faure's "Pavane" on CRISTAL: GLASS MUSIC THROUGH THE AGES
- "I think the most beautiful selection in this concert is the Faure "Pavane" with its utterly gorgeous setting. Grab this one."
N.H. Keene, Brattleboro Reformer, 1/31/02
re: Three Objects and an Animation:
- "The overall was full of energy and drive, bold yet subtle, a unified center expressed in terms of constant variety, in many ways the composer's most adventurous and most skillfully wrought piece to date....he found a precision of detail which was exhilarating."
Richard Ames, Santa Barbara News Press
- "'Mesa/Pacific' by Garry Eister turned out to be a mellifluous, happily economic collage of pop vocals and percussive diddles with voluptuous electronic overlays."
Martin Bernheimer, LA Times, 10/18/84
re: Again, Last Night, I Dreamt of the Ocean
- "Eister's tone poem, apparently a premier, exemplified the New Romanticism. With its folk like melodies, modal harmonies and lush sonorities, it did not go beyond the conservative idiom of Benjamin Britten. Its newness came from amplified whistling and electronic sounds that suggested cries of gulls and the roar of the sea."
Wilma Salisbury, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/1/84
re: Moby Dick
- "Spiritual catharsis and dramatic urgency are not qualities a reviewer expects, not in the secular 1990's, at least, where the fire and brimstone of the 19th Century seem eternally out of fashion. However, "Moby Dick" reinstates with a vengeance the religious content and crisis of 100 years ago, with results that are amazingly successful."
Maggie Johnson, Five Cities Times- Press-Recorder, Arroyo Grande, CA, 2/1/95
"He has made "Moby Dick" an adventure story, using Melville's words, albeit edited and rearranged for the libretto. The music he adds to it is splendid: soft airs for the tranquil passages, love songs to the sea, solo denunciations of fate, choral fantasies, marches, mazurkas- a panoply of music takes "Moby Dick" from Melville's pages of prose and moves it into the realm of poetic emotion."
Marvin Sosna, Telegram Tribune- San Luis Obispo, CA, 2/8/95
re: The God Guy Speaks
"A wonderful tapestry is woven right before the eyes of the audience, full of wit, humor, and depth... An A+ and extra credit ..."
Sean Smith, Delta College Impact-Stockton, CA, 4/10/92
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