Epitaph for Nebula
"Joe Cutler's Epitaph for Nebula, also for
mixed ensemble, was not in danger of missing its destination since its
personality was so much more robust, even raw (a certian Varese-like
feeling for instrumental skirmishes and jammed sonorites)."
Paul Griffiths, The Times, Feb 1992
"Full of explosive energy, formally
cohesive; this was music that came to get you."
Yorkshire Post, Nov 1991
Visions of a Floating World
"..(Carl Vine's piece)..was followed by the
weightier literarism of Joe Cutler's SPNM commission Visions of a
Floating World here receiving its British premiere. Cutler's is a
significant new voice, his ear for instrumental colour adding important
factors to his music's thematic make-up"
Birmingham Post Nov 1993
On the Edge
" Inventive melodies, rich and sensitive
instrumental colours, logical musical structures; it seems clear to say
that the young Englishman stands at the threshhold of a rich and
Ruch Muzyczny (Poland) Feb 1995
"..taut and spellbinding."
Huddersfield Examiner, Jun 1995
"Sal's Sax by Joe Cutler is a piece in Louis
Andriessen's and Steve Martland's style: driving, post-minimalist music
with heavy, industrial percussion, alternated by a really very sultry
De Volkskrant, sep 1997
"..(of the Gaudeamus jury)..Martijn Altena
unmistakably went for the wild, English dialect of Sal's Sax by Joe
De Parool, Sep 1997
" a challenging and exhilerating
Manchester evening News, Oct 1996
" Two premieres were particularly
stimulating..the second was in impressive work for percussion entitled
Strikin' Out by Joe Cutler..Watch out for Cutler."
Sara Cunningham, Classical Music, Dec 1999 ("Premieres of 1999)
" In his Awakenings, Joe Cutler provided the
evening's most original and though-provoking piece. Inspired by his
readings about World War one, it offered by means of taut organisation
an arresting amalgam of violence and ghostliness."
Huddersfield Examiner, Nov 1998
" F*****g Brilliant!"
Michael Nyman Jul 1999
" The evening ended with the US Premiere of
Joe Cutler's Screaming 229a, a reference to the composer's apartment in
Warsaw. Filled with opportunities for the four musicians to show off,
this nervous, agitated score had the most obvious difficulties, with
the constantly pulsating texture interrupted by tricky, fast phrases
where the entire ensemble would come to an abrupt halt. it was as if we
had entered a sober unmarked Warsaw door, only to be startled with a
noisy, bumper-to-bumper traffic intersection inside with vehicles
veering madly out of control before finally skidding to a stop. I loved
Seen and Heard, Nov 2003
Verses and Choruses
"..the crazed mirrors of Joe Cutler's Verses
and Choruses (a rousing finale to the evening)."
Geoff Brown, The Times, Jan 2004
The Dubious Concoctions of Dr Tillystrom
" Joe Cutler's The Dubious Concoctions of Dr
Tillystrom is an exuberent fantasy..once past sustained string chords
redolent of freezing cold and vast spaces, the music opens up into a
kaleidoscopic scherzo that combines Stravinskyan rhythmic propulsion
with the glamour of Liszt's Faust Symphony..tremendous fun."
Tim Ashley, The Guardian Nov 1999
" Joe Cutler's The Dubious Concoctions of Dr
Tillystrom in its five minutes duration managed to pack a good many
ideas, neatly realised."
Barry Millington, The Times, Nov 1999
"..the impact of the Turnage was rather
muted, its creative impulse sounding altogether slacker than in Joe
Cutler's The Dubious Concoctions of Dr Tillystrom. Here the music's
gruesome imagery seemed to hark back to Bartok's Miraculous Mandarin,
but the piece was fresh, succinct, entertaining and a strong contender
in the SCO's cometition for new talent, with a 2005-6 commission as a
Geoffrey Norris, The Daily Telegraph, Oct 2004
" Another contemporary piece, The Dubious
Concoctions of Dr Tillystrom which was short but riotous opened the
The Scotsman, Oct 2004
Five Mobiles afer Alexander Calder
" Successful and intriguing miniatures in a
Seen and Heard, Oct 2000
" Joe Cutler's recent work Urban Myths spun
its notes pleasingly."
The Times, Jan 2001
" Involved, dramatic, passionate,
declamatory, neurotic, three-dimensional, stylised, confrontational and
a whole host of other adjectives. I need say no more about Joe Cutler's
(re)Gaia. This needs publishing."
Re-Diffusion, March 2001
" Joe Cutler's energetic piece for the trio
was mostly rhythmic to manic, very invigorating."
Seen and Heard, Jan 2002
Without Fear of Vertigo
" Joe Cutler's Without Fear of Vertigo has a
visceral energy and a genuine sense of daring."
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, April 2002
"..of the two works mentioned earlier with a
visual element involved, Joe Cutler's Without fear of Vertigo stands up
particularly well in its own musical right, a manic work for ensemble
of ceaseless, teaming energy."
Seen and Heard, Nov 2002
"..with two outstanding pieces among them
(new commissions), Joe Cutler's Szymborska settings should go straight
into the repertoire."
Richard Morrison, The Times, Nov 2002
"..but the Cornerstone (Liverpool) evening
was not without its rewards, Cutler's treatment of five poems by
Wislawa Szymborska made vigorous, colourful use of piano, violin and
cimbalom, with the third poem "the railway station" a blustering,
uncliched simulation of a moving train."
Paul Driver, Sunday Times March 2005
"...an engrossing alternation of energy and
The Daily Telegraph, Feb 2003
La Horo Cero..
" As befits a work inspired by Astor
Piazzolla, Joe Cutler's "La Horo Cero.." deployed the ensemble in
bracing rhythmic interplay, the accumulated momentum effectively
released into brief and laconic coda."
Classical Source, April 2002
" Joe Cutler is one of our most promising
young talents and his entertaining Jiggidybox,a tongue in cheek
invention by the "18th Century Swiss inventor, gambler and philosopher
Rudolf Von Stengl" progresses from a static opening to a state of
overheat as the musical contraption grows ever more wild and
Seen and Heard, March 2003
" Joe Cutler's propulsive Jiggidybox."
Andrew Clements, BBC Music Magazine, May 2003
Jack the Diamond's Jamming Station
"Jack the Diamond's Jamming Station by Joe
Cutler suggested Henry Cow scoring a David Lynch movie with many
surreal, nighmarish, solarised images flashing past."
Brighton Argus, Nov 2003
" The world premiere of Joe Cutler's Cinnamon Street was equally compelling. Although born In London, Cutler studied in Poland and, while he writes with his own distinctive voice, his continuation of the Eastern European tradition is not in doubt.
For the most part, the brass dominated the
strings setting a dynamic rhythmic pulse for a work that quietly
dazzled with its bold colours and deft musical fluency. It's a tribute
to Cutler's considerable talents that the piece was never in danger of
being eclipsed, despite being in such illustrious company."
The Scotsman, March 2006
"...this was an interesting programme in
whuch all roads led back to Bartok, highlighting his influence at every
turn. Even the new work on the programme, Cinnamon Street by British
composer Joe Cutler, fitted into this scheme, not only in terms of its
inspiration, the works of Polish-Jewish writer Bruno Schultz, but also
in the way in which its percussive energy was shot through with lyrical
The Guardian, March 2006
" Joe Cutler's Cinnamon Street, in its first
performance, revealed itself to be an effectively moody, soulful and
Glasgow Herald, March 2006
The Stranger (Film)
" A fine and filagree score."
Variety, Jul 1998
"..I even loved the saxophone "flight of the
bumblebee" music that Joe Cutler has composed to bring the play to its
Financial Times, Aug 2001
"So, on to Ulf. Ultra low frequency? Flu
spelled backwards? The musical portrait of some Swedish friend? If the
last, the friend has severe mood swings. First we had three hurtling
minutes of driving chords and asymmetrical rhythms; then two static
minutes pitting a ciphering note from winds and brass against wistful,
Copland-esque strings. Cutler likes exploring extreme contrasts; this
example tickled and intrigued in a confident performance, and kept Paul
Watkins very busy conducting. I wouldn’t at all mind hearing it again."
The Times, May 2006
Joe Cutler's music is very much of his
generation. He is old enough to have swallowed up the free-thinking
legacy of the 1960s and 70s, with its cool nod to jazz and rock, but
young enough to have escaped the so-called "school of complexity" of
those even a half generation behind.
The liberal breadth of his style is evident in spades on this disc on
the ever-enterprising NMC label. Whether in the aggressive Dutch-style
minimalism of Sal's Sax – a mix of influences from Martland back to
Bernstein – or the luscious, bluesy Music for cello and strings (played
by Robin Michael and the BBC Concert Orchestra), the one singular
presence is Cutler's alluring musical personality.
Kenneth Walton, The Scotsman, June 2008
The titles of Joe Cutler's pieces seem designed as smokescreen
more than anything else. Behind their jokey references and diverse cultural
allusions lurks beautifully crafted music of great energy and creative imagination.
London-born Cutler, 40 this year and currently head of composition at Birmingham Conservatoire,
seems to have bypassed the mainstream of contemporary British music, studying
at the Chopin Conservatoire in Warsaw and then working extensively in the Netherlands.
It has given Cutler's music a tang all its own, and the stylistic freedom to incorporate
whatever seems appropriate and integrate it comfortably into his language. So the solo piano
piece Buckley's Hot Licks begins with keyboard pyrotechnics, veers into melodrama in its central
section with the pianist as reciter, before ending with a homage to Art Tatum-style stride piano,
while Sal's Sax is a hard-edged essay in Dutch minimalism driven along on a tide of brass and
explosive keyboard and percussion chords. The beautiful Music for Cello and Strings from 2005
seems to me the most impressive work here, referencing a range of 20th-century models,
from Schoenberg to Takemitsu, yet remaining confidently itself
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 19th June 2008