“ 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
I’m very pleased and excited to announce that on October 12, 2018, my new album, When you are reminded by the instruments, was released by PARMA Recordings LLC on their Navona Records label. The release, which is the first recording entirely devoted to my music, was the culmination of about three years of work. The album covers a period from 1989 to 2015 and includes works for solo instruments, small and large ensembles, and chorus. Several of the recordings have been waiting for years for a home, while others were recorded within the last two years. Here is a link, via Navona Records, where you will find track listings, digital liner notes (beautifully written by composer Christian Carey), performer bios, and other information, including links to outlets (the usual suspects: Apple, Spotify, Naxos, Archiv, Amazon) from whom you may order the album, either as a physical CD or a download.
We will celebrate the release of the album on Wednesday, November 7, 2018, from 8:30 to 10:30 PM at New York City’s Tenri Cultural Institute, located at 43A West 13th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues). There will be CDs for sale, and performances of two of the works from the recording by the artists who are featured on the album: E. M. am Flügel (1992), for piano solo, played by its dedicatee and my good friend, the composer and pianist extraordinaire Eric Moe; and Inquieto (attraverso il rumore) (2015), for violin and piano, performed by Curtis Macomber and Christopher Oldfather. After the performances, there will be refreshments, including wine and cheese. If you are or will be in the area, please come! If you’re on Facebook, please visit and like my composer page (Hayes Biggs, Composer). There also is an event page there for this release party, where you can let me know whether or not you can come. Please do let me know, so we may procure the appropriate quantity of food and libations!
The album’s title comes from Walt Whitman’s A Song for Occupations:
All music is what awakes from you when you are reminded by the instruments,
It is not the violins and the cornets, it is not the oboe nor the beating drums, nor the score of the baritone singer singing his sweet romanza, nor that of the men’s chorus, nor that of the women’s chorus,
It is nearer and farther than they.
Here is a YouTube video of the first track on the album, Pan-fare, scored for a kind of motley jazz band on steroids, featuring solo steel pan, played here by Desiree Glazier-Nazro, with members of the Moravian Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra conducted by Petr Vronsky.
I hope you can join us on Wednesday, November 7 at Tenri!