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Arena 1974, violoncello and tape, Carl Fischer, 8', recorded on Orion ORS 75169

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"For me, the high point of the Composers' Theatre concert at Washington Square Methodist Church Friday night was Arena, a new work for 'cello and tape by David Cope. In most pieces for live performers and tape, the electronic sounds pull against the instrumental ones in some sort of dialogue, but here the two elements are carefully blended. Particularly in the lush opening sonorities, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish the tape from the 'cello, and throughout the piece, the two elements remain perfectly attuned to each other, like a fine chamber ensemble. Much of the effect of the piece had to do with the composer's own performance of the 'cello part. His playing never seemed rigid, despite the split second timing necessary to keep in sync with the tape."

--Tom Johnson, Village Voice May 9, 1974

"Cope's Arena for cello and tape does some attractive sonic blending."

--William Weber, Los Angeles Times, March 23, 1975

"Arena had a sense of interplay especially in terms of timbre and articulation. In every piece in which he appeared, Cope revealed, along with his musical abilities, a very dynamic stage personality. His use of hands, body attitudes, and facial expressions is very theatrical and serves to augment his music without detracting from it."

--Bruce Paulsen, The South Bend Tribune, March 20, 1975

"Tape with a single instrument is a category that has a substantial literature at his date. Most of the pieces, however, tend to overlay the tape on a sharply contrastive level. In Cope's piece the integration is specific. The beginning of Arena indicates the premise on which this partnered structural coloration will be applied. Cope's impressive contribution demonstrates the possibilities existent in the duo medium of instrument and tape and deserves special attention (and praise)."

--Arthur Cohn, Guide to Recorded Music, p. 428

"Cope is also a deft cellist and an interesting composer, as was shown in his effective reading of his Arena. Suggested by a Navajo Indian Massacre of the late 19th century (the cello part actually quotes from a Navajo folksong), the 10-minute piece is by turns lyrical and pointillistic in character, plaintive and subtle in mood. Its understated quality is its greatest asset."

--John Von Rhein, Akron Beacon Journal, Oct. 14, 1974

"Arena for cello and tape, instead of the usual dialogue format, strives to blend the acoustic and electronic sources, and I find this very pleasant."

--Peter Riley, Musics (London), May, 1977