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MusicWeb International, March 2012

Full marks again to Naxos scouts for recognising an original voice.

The Linearity of Light is a good opener: overall reminiscent perhaps of Jerry Goldsmith, its vivid orchestration and episodic character would stand it in good stead in a dystopian or sci-fi film score, particularly the last three minutes, which bristle with excitement and drama….anyone who has enjoyed Goldsmith’s finest soundtracks should be quite comfortable with Ryan’s music. That is not to say that this is film-grade writing - far from it. Ryan’s orchestration is considerably more sophisticated, his ideas much more original…

Equilateral…is an impressive work that is sure to have wide appeal.

The Symphony is even more terrific…This big, four-movement work is a cornucopia of orchestral detail and effects that never resorts to ostentation or gimmickry - often, indeed, the music is contemplative and gentle.

The Gryphons…turn in creditable, ingratiating performances.

With luck [Naxos] will press on with this Canadian series as with the American and Spanish Classics… Either way, a Jeffrey Ryan follow-up should be high on the ‘Things To Do Next’ list. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Barry Kilpatrick
American Record Guide, January 2012

This is some of the best new music I have reviewed in more than two decades. For the Vancouver Symphony, playing these pieces must have been rewarding. These are persuasive readings. © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide online

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2011

With the international music world knowing precious little about Canadian classical composers, this new Naxos series will prove invaluable. Born in 1962, Jeffrey Ryan came to prominence in 2002 when he was appointed ‘Composer in Residence’, with the Vancouver Symphony with a five year contract, this long period taking him on many of the orchestra’s extensive tours. One of his earliest successes came in 2002 with The Linearity of Light, Ryan’s depiction—as he sees them—of colours expressed in music, a soft dense chord suggesting the prism that breaks up the beam of light. The score opens quietly and slowly grows into a whole spectrum of orchestral sounds. Completed four years later, Equilateral is in three movements for piano trio and orchestra, each movement carrying a title—Breathless, Points of Contact and Serpentine. The trio either interact, are in opposition, or form part of the orchestra as the titles shape Ryan’s thoughts. The First Symphony, Fugitive Colours, was completed the previous year, its name coming from painters and weavers and is meant to indicate colours that fade in light. So it is that Ryan’s music fades after being created to form delicate hues. It completes a disc where tonality rubs shoulders with listener-friendly atonality, and minimalism invades with its repetitive sound patterns. Throughout Ryan demonstrates a mastery of orchestration, and anyone interested in sounds of a new millennium should come to this disc. Just as good in the ‘live’ recordings for the first two works as the studio sessions for the First Symphony. I admire the secure, often hard-hitting and virtuoso playing from the Vancouver Symphony under their British music director, Bramwell Tovey., September 2011

Ryan handles his orchestral forces well, and there are a number of interesting instrumental effects in this symphony, which (like all the music here) is played with strength and close attention to detail. But only people who know in advance of the symphony’s intended connection with color will likely react to it on the basis that Ryan desires…Ryan’s work is less classically poised and more emotional and meditative, its elements of lamentation and joyfulness being clearly expressed and relatively easy (and satisfying) for an audience to respond to.

Colin Eatock
Eatock Daily, September 2011

…well produced and performed…the music itself…often edgy and angular, and always has a strong sense of direction…Ryan isn’t shy about wearing his influences on his sleeve: Stravinsky, Bartók, Messiaen and LutosÅ‚awski all make cameo appearances in his scores. And like all of those composers, Ryan is a master of orchestration.

Stephen Habington
Classical Music Sentinel, September 2011

…the music can be appreciated with neither programme nor inference. It works very well in absolute terms, intricate and invigorating in the outstanding performances here.

Sound World. Linearity of Light is a spritely and concise curtain raiser eleven minutes in length. For most collectors this will be a pleasing introduction to the composer. Originality and quality is obvious yet the spirit of the piece recalls Stravinskian wit and use of an orchestral piano is redolent of Martinů’s symphonic muse. Equilateral seems to flow out of the first number seamlessly. It opens with energetic thrust and momentum….with Fugitive Colours, Ryan has created a memorable addition to the form…Imagery may have been a primary influence but the work packs an emotional wallop. Passages sinister and joyous seem to transit directly to the listener’s subconscious. This first symphony is a monumental achievement and music lovers everywhere are the beneficiaries.

The Idea of North….Ryan’s symphony not only reverberates from coast to coast to coast in Canada but also vaults the North Pole to land in the midst of the modern Nordics. Such is powerful and prolific company for Jeffrey Ryan. Naxos has taken great Canadian music of our day and given it global reach.

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