What the Press Says
The remarkable thing about Raines' music is not so much that it is technically intricate, which we might have expected, but that it also has the power to move the listener emotionally…dramatic and evocative, but highly economic writing. Keep this premiere offering in your CD collection and treasure it. I have the feeling we will be hearing much from Robert Raines in the future. – Atlanta Audio Society
Raines is clearly a composer with a considerable talent and imagination. His music would sit well within a programme of contemporary works or as film music or anywhere in between, such is the breadth of his appeal. There is a life-force behind his music which involves the listener and keeps the material fresh; it is rare that I can listen to a 30 minute piece of music without my mind drifting at some point, but Raines held my attention and made me want to listen again. That, surely, is a good sign.
Flute World / Music Web
Echoes of Sarah – A Fantasy for Nine Flutes
…a poignant and moving fantasy for nine flutes …[it] takes us through a range of emotions and uses the colours of the different members of the flute family to good effect… the work constantly evolves and eventually breaks down into haunting vocal sounds...– Flute World / Music Web
…the music is never monotonous or wearying; the varying moods are sweetly poetical… The unique methods of playing give this ensemble of equal instruments a veritable orchestral or even choral heft…
… is scored very effectively…deals with the issue of personal loss…carries its subject's spirit up to the clouds, utilizing spinning polyphonic lines to lift the music off into the air...– All Music Guide
Scored for nine flutes, the one-movement fantasy is a valedictory piece for one of the composer’s ex-colleagues who died of a rare blood disease. It is touching in its evident sense of yearning. Solo lines evoke the loneliness of the shakuhachi. The performance is disciplined and strong...
…a warm sound…whirling motion reaches a head…breathy sounds, pop of pads, and the soft vocalizations create an effective piece...
– American Record Guide
…the texture is deliberately intricate as the composer explores extremes of range, tone, texture, and tempo, beginning and ending with dense vertical clusters… seems to parallel …a human life…as of someone keenly aware of [its] terrible brevity….
Atlanta Audio Society
The Return of Odysseus –
Complete Ballet for Full Orchestra
…expressive and dramatic, showing Raines' well developed instinct for using the right instrumental combination at the right moment... builds in mystery and intensity, making highly effective use of the brass at the climactic moment…robust …truly thrilling…sensationally scintillating writing...– Atlanta Audio Society
…Dance of the Suitors is a hellish and deliberately unrefined depiction of Penelope’s “suitors.” – American Record Guide
The balletic nature of the music is everywhere apparent, sometimes intriguingly so (the shady nature of the Dance of the suitors, for example). The music for The Cyclops is graphically ominous in its snaking melodic contours and generally low pitch, while the ethereal Song of the Sirens, generally high and seductive, acts as good contrast. If some of the utterances seem filmic and occasionally heart-on-sleeve, that is not necessarily a bad thing in the context of an unfolding narrative such as this. Blues inflects some of the lines of The Kingdom of the Dead, which also includes some of the most dissonant music of the entire score. Primal rhythms generate the tension in The Return of Odysseus...the Moravian Philharmonic and their conductor Vít Micka, have clearly spent much time in preparation for this recording.
…the pièce de résistance…expertly scored and very well suited for choreography. With repeated listens, The Return of Odysseus really grows on you; some of its motifs and melodies stick in your head, while the rest of it retains its freshness and sense of surprise. – All Music Guide
… has drama running all the way through it. The orchestration is rich and imaginative, and the rhythmic writing has resonances of Stravinsky without ever becoming predictable or generic…the music is creative, expressive and extremely enjoyable. Raines’ plentiful influences create a rich tapestry of sound which never stays still and has the sense of a modern day spectacle; one can imagine a contemporary act such as Cirque de Soleil working to this music…
Flute World / Music Web
Ménage – A Trio for Flute, Bass Clarinet, and Piano
…an abundant happiness seems to continually push the instruments through their bounding dance-like melodies. – American Record Guide
…its outer movements are tart and jazzy, … the inner one is an attractive, intermezzo-styled piece reminiscent a little of Poulenc. – All Music Guide
…immediately hints at Raines’ diverse background as a composer and musician. …a feast of rhythm and drive…brings the work to a dramatic close. – Flute World / Music Web
The number three hangs over many aspects of the work (three instruments; three tripartite movements, each lasting around three minutes). The composer set out to explore the love/hate relationships of the three intimately entwined performers. There is a sense of exploration in this music, music that seems all the stronger for its brevity.
… explores the relationships between these three instruments, each with its own distinctive timbre, in solo, duet and trio settings… the music explores a range of emotions: love and hate, sadness and joy, conflict and its resolution.
Atlanta Audio Society
The ballet "The Return of Odysseus" is performed at Florida State University.