"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
--Bruce Paulsen, The South Bend Tribune, March 20,
"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,
"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),