“ 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
SSAATTB Text: Psalm 96(95):1-3 Liturgical (Latin)
Cantate Domino was completed on the eve of Pentecost Sunday 1997, and presented to Dr. David Hurd in thanksgiving for his twelve years as Director of Music at All Saints Church in New York City. It is a very short, lively and good-humored piece based on the first three verses of Psalm 96. The work received its first performance at Society of Composers, Inc. 1998 National Conference at Indiana University on April 16, 1998, by the Concord Ensemble.
1 Cantate Domino canticum novum:*
cantate Domino omnis terra
2 Cantate Domino, et benedicite nomine eius:*
annuntiate de die in diem salutare eius.
3 Annuntiate inter Gentes gloriam eius;*
annuntiate in omnis populis mirabilia eius.
1 Sing to the Lord a new song;*
sing to the Lord all the whole earth.
2 Sing to the Lord and bless His Name;*
proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
3 Declare His glory among the nations*
and His wonders among the peoples.
Hayes Biggs sent me a pre-publication copy of his Cantate Domino… this is vintage Biggs, and that is as good as it gets. This is difficult, challenging music which gives far more than it asks and which celebrates the human spirit, even as it blesses the Holy Spirit for the gift of creativity.
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