…his music has everything we have come to expect from the greatest of contemporary composers—confidence, originality, expressivity, and, above all, palpable meaning. …highly original and compelling.
…[a] notable world premiere here, Andrew Waggoner’s La Folie (Fantasme on a Ground), a more maximal organism. This is music at once viscerally charged and intellectually curious – curious as in strangely compelling and actively, restlessly searching. The piece morphs and folds over itself, unveiling a series of ideas, interests and aspects of what the composer calls the “continuous variation”. It’s a wild ride, in other words, but with self-assurance and dignity beneath the sometimes crazed and Messiaenic surfaces.
–Los Angeles Times
…The evening’s first premiere belonged to Andrew Waggoner. His Down/Up, for oboe, violin, viola, and cello draws its inspiration from a quote by the medieval mystic Meister Eckhart.The piece begins with an introduction made up of pungent chords before giving way to a driving, groove-based section. This is followed by music that’s more ethereal, higher in register and floating over arpeggiated string figures. These two musical characters – the earthy and the celestial – alternate before a quizzical flourish wraps things up. It’s a striking piece that received a riveting performance from oboist Peggy Pearson, violinist Gabriella Diaz, violist Stephanie Fong, and cellist Jan Müller-Szeraws. Waggoner’s musical language is complex, to be sure, but not in an off-putting way: in Down/Up, the musical structure reveals itself clearly, and the music’s recurring (or slightly transformed) gestures lend it a kind of Classical quality – a feature that was perhaps emphasized on Saturday by placing it on the program just after a Haydn quartet. Expressively, this is highly intense music and its inner fire was matched by the playing of the ensemble.
–Boston Arts Fuse
Andrew Waggoner is a gifted practitioner of a complex but dramatic and vividly colored style
–The New Yorker
A score of Shakespeare’s sonnets were woven through Andrew Waggoner’s 2005 “This Powerful Rhyme,” for 10 players (conducted by Harbison) and two speakers. The sonnets were arranged into a loose, course-of-true-love chronicle, but it was, again, the musical progression — one saturated, high-dynamic-range instrumental cushion after another — that carried the piece.
Andrew Waggoner joined his colleagues at the end in his quintet Memory, Word, Mystery, Presence, composed in 2005 in Strasbourg. A play of contrasts between harmonies both supercharged and still, between homophony and dense polyphony, all through an atonality that manages to be unaggressive, never sinking to demagoguery. The writing, beautifully clear, captures the ear throughout.
–Dernieres Nouvelles d’Alsace, Strasbourg, France
Waggoner’s timbral combinations were particularly inventive: a roiling passage driven by pounding roto-toms was followed with a lyrical stretch for alto saxophone paired with bowed cymbal and wobbly flexatone; not long after that, icy lines on piano and guitar backed a growling tenor saxophone and groaning cuica.
–Night After Night Blogs, New York
Andrew Waggoner’s Collines parmi étoiles… lives up to its Messiaenesque title, conjuring vast vistas of sound.
A promising premiere by Andrew Waggoner should convince any listener that this music will prosper into the 21st century.
…eloquent…seemed to end far too soon, leaving the listener wanting more.
–Winnipeg Free Press
…the concert featured back-to-back performances of Waggoner’s brief but tremendous Aubade.
…Waggoner’s music is richly varied.”
“Waggoner’s ‘Song’ is the most substantial work on the disc, with an imposing structure…
Also impressive was Waggoner’s The Train, a subtle work that eschewed obvious choo-choo effects in favor of an unstoppable sense of momentum.
…effectively understated…deep tolling chords contrasted with sparkling flashes of passagework lightning in the evocative second movement.
–Los Angeles Times
Legacy…uses a smart melodic technique: Waggoner unleashes lines in hesitating, fractured portions, stretching the emotional waiting time before arrival points. The first movement is brightly lit, with harmonics poking out from a busy texture.
Symphony no. 2 is a grand affair, with broad, sweeping melodies…a composer of significant potential.
–American Record Guide
An in memoriam piece, the symphony is clearly a deeply felt work, which makes no apology for its overtly emotional content. The two string quartets make a similar direct appeal to the emotions, the first utilising more or less overt references to the textures and visceral impact of non-classical forms, the second leading the listener through a sensual journey of dream and imagination…
Similarly, Waggoner’s Variations… entice the listener with frequent mood changes and facile, idiomatic, colorful string writing.
–Sonneck Society for American Music Bulletin