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Stephen J. Nereffid
Music is Good, December 2014

Top 15 New Classical of 2014: Stephen J. Nereffid

Julia Wolfe picks apart the many variations of “John Henry” and reconstructs them all into an extraordinary monument. The work burns slowly to begin with—it takes nearly ten minutes just to get done with the first four words—but the fateful race is genuinely climactic. The Bang On A Can All-Stars provide support for the inspired Trio Medieval in a work that’s billed by the label as “alt-folk”, though to me “epic minimalism” is probably a better pigeon-hole. © 2014 Music is Good




George Adams
American Record Guide, September 2014

Minimalism and popular music have long been associated, but I had never drawn a similar connection between the Bang on a Can composers and traditional Americana. There is something in the modesty of material that allows the recognizable straight-tone vocal style of much new music to complement the bareness of folk song. Though its conception and program is a bit odd, the fusion of these two American musical traditions is a happy marriage. © 2014 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide




Kraig Lamper
American Record Guide, July 2014

The Trio Medaeval’s vocalizations, styling, and presentation are fantastic; and the Bang On A Can All-Stars contributes more than usual instrumentation…Steel Hammer is an adventurous work that succeeds in its use of eclectic musical components where many compositions fail. © 2014 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Daniel Stephen Johnson
WQXR (New York), April 2014

The vocal performances, by Norwegian early-music vocal ensemble Trio Mediæval, are the album’s crowning delight. Their grasp of American idioms both linguistic and musical is startlingly assured, and their blend is ear-bendingly pure. Where the All-Stars offer a wild, American jangle of eclectic styles, the Trio keeps cool and focused.

…this is a passion play for a sort of ordinary Christ figure, and their pure, exquisitely shaped sound lends Wolfe’s work…the laserlike intensity demanded by her music’s most luminous moments. © 2014 WQXR (New York) Read complete review





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