“ Interestingly, the work that tried to please the least was the most compelling. Hayes Biggs’ piece Ave Formosissima harkens back to the dance-mad, melismatic and slightly raucous music of the Middle Ages. But the score, with its zig-zagging lines and pungent dissonances, is genuinely contemporary.”—New York Times
“ A Consuming Fire, a short, zesty trio by Hayes Biggs, led off the evening. The piece is framed by some engagingly angular rhythmic writing, with a lyrical nougat at the center.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“ [The] most convincing and coherent performance [was] Hayes Biggs’ homage to his composer/pianist colleague Eric Moe, E.M. am Flügel, a short piece with romantic gestures and echoes of Berg and Stravinsky.”—Aufbau
“ The Mass for All Saints would be an exciting challenge for those choirs skilled in precise intonation and rhythmic agility. Biggs writes with knowledge of and respect for the expressive capabilities of the human voice.”—Choral Journal
“ Hayes Biggs’s wedding motet Tota Pulchra Es, here being sung for the first time, impressed by its quiet solemnity and neat working of its expressive opening motif: not empty fanfares but a reminder of the seriousness and privacy of love.”—New York Times
“ Mass for All Saints by composer Hayes Biggs releases shadows transformed into tendrils of light by the arabesque of the vocal line. Contrapuntal procedures are used to their utmost expressive effect. [It] is a work of a melodist of talent in the manner of Puccini, or better yet, Respighi.”—La Liberté
“ The Biggs song, Northeast Reservation Lines, is a real party piece... the sneakiness of the changes, the liveliness of the music and the verve of the performance worked handily... a potential recital hit in the vein of Bernstein’s I Hate Music cycle.”—The Village Voice
“ All the works tried a return to tonality typical of the decade; the most successful made the return oblique and ambiguous. Hayes Biggs’ O Sacrum Convivium took off from the motet of Tallis, yet it handsomely reconfigured early modes in a modernistic scheme of free tonality.”—New York Times
“ Hayes Biggs’ To Becalme His Fever... is a vivid evocation of anxiety, fits and repose. The language embraces pointillistic colors, romantic lines and prickly episodes when the demons hover. Biggs claims a forceful and subtle dramatic hand, along with a keen command of instrumental resources.”—The Plain Dealer
One of my proudest musical associations is with C4, which I was privileged to join in 2010. Our repertory consists of pieces for chorus composed within the past 25 years, and runs the stylistic gamut. This ensemble has been a crucial outlet for me both as a composer and performer, and I say with all seriousness that they are the primary reason I continue to write choral music. My colleagues in this group are fearless and dedicated.
We are doing two concerts this week of new works for chorus and string quartet, joined by the excellent young players of the Canite String Quartet.
Featured works include:
Tarik O’Regan: The Ecstasies Above (on Edgar Allen Poe’s Israfel); Michael Conley (C4): Dies Irae, from his Appalachian Requiem; Veronika Krausas, The Language of Birds (on poems of Lawrence Ferlinghetti); as well as world premieres by:
Mario Gullo (C4): It’s Not Real/Saw You Once/The Other Day; David Harris (C4 alum): Brief Hour; and Martha Sullivan (C4): Just.
It is shaping up to be an excellent and beautiful program, and I hope to see many of you there.
Thursday, March 6
The Meeting Room at Judson Memorial Church
55 Washington Square South (Directions)
Saturday, March 8
Issue Project Room
22 Boerum Place (at Livingston Street), Brooklyn (Directions)
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