Reviews

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 interesting career."
Ruch Muzyczny (Poland) Feb 1995


Shaman

"..taut and spellbinding."
Huddersfield Examiner, Jun 1995


Sal's Sax

"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 middle section."
De Volkskrant, sep 1997


"..(of the Gaudeamus jury)..Martijn Altena unmistakably went for the wild, English dialect of Sal's Sax by Joe Cutler."
De Parool, Sep 1997


Strikin' Out

" a challenging and exhilerating experience."
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)


Awakenings

" 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


Screaming 229a

" 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 it. "
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 prize."
Geoffrey Norris, The Daily Telegraph, Oct 2004


" Another contemporary piece, The Dubious Concoctions of Dr Tillystrom which was short but riotous opened the programme. "
The Scotsman, Oct 2004


Five Mobiles afer Alexander Calder

" Successful and intriguing miniatures in a quasi-minimalist style".
Seen and Heard, Oct 2000


Urban Myths

" Joe Cutler's recent work Urban Myths spun its notes pleasingly."
The Times, Jan 2001


(re)Gaia

" 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


RetroKitty

" 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


Szymborska Settings

"..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


Piano Quintet

"...an engrossing alternation of energy and contemplation.'"
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


Jiggidybox

" 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 energetic."
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


Cinnamon Street

" 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 moments."
The Guardian, March 2006


" Joe Cutler's Cinnamon Street, in its first performance, revealed itself to be an effectively moody, soulful and blues-tinged composition."
Glasgow Herald, March 2006


The Stranger (Film)

" A fine and filagree score."
Variety, Jul 1998


Humble Boy

"..I even loved the saxophone "flight of the bumblebee" music that Joe Cutler has composed to bring the play to its close."
Financial Times, Aug 2001


Ulf

"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


BartleBooth (CD)

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