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Maria Nockin
Fanfare, November 2012

Every one of these California dreams will evoke a response…The singing is expressive and the words are easy to understand. Sharon Lavery conducts the La Brea Sinfonietta in an excellent rendition of Able’s cinematic score. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review

Maria Nockin
Fanfare, July 2012

Mark Abel’s The Dream Gallery is a beautiful song cycle with a most interesting orchestral accompaniment. Each of these songs gives the words of a single individual with a unique viewpoint.

Like Richard Wagner and a few other composers who wrote their own libretti, Abel is as good a poet as he is a musician. As a result, his work demands expert vocal interpretation, and that includes acting with the voice. His cast is excellent and each singer responds well. Above all, kudos go to conductor Sharon Lavery, who has the responsibility for coordinating all the sections of this seven-part cycle. Most of the singers…add enough emotional impact to their pieces to make each stand out…David Marshman…uses his burnished low notes to illustrate the bleakness of Taft in Western Kern County…this is an excellent vehicle for concert and recital artists and I hope to hear it presented live soon.

The CD’s sound is warm and clear. I think that anyone who is interested in modern vocal music will want to own this disc. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review

James Manheim, May 2012

A former alternative rock musician, Abel writes rock-like percussion lines into his music, and part of the appeal of this song cycle is the collision between the small ensemble of classical instruments and the thoroughly contemporary language. Abel’s seven songs are portraits of characteristic individuals in seven California communities…what makes them persuasive is the depth of characterization in the texts (which are Abel’s own)…Abel deploys a different soloist, matched to the material, in each song…all the singers respond well to Abel’s mixture of dramatic characterization and straightforward text declamation…These acid yet humane portraits of California will be recognizable to anyone who has lived there, or really to any American. A bit like a West Coast William Bolcom, but not much like anything else out there, this is most highly recommended. © 2012 Read complete review

Micaele Sparacino, April 2012

This superb recording of composer Mark Abel’s latest composition, The Dream Gallery, has already received the Award of Excellence (for Lyrics) and the Award of Merit (for originality and creativity), which is presented by Global Music Awards (GMA).…the song cycle is composed like a gallery of very colorfully painted portraits and pictures.

…it must be said that Mark Abel has an uncanny knack for musically capturing the atmospheres of these various topographies and terrains.

Mr. Abel has composed his own lyrics, which truly give a strong unity of vision to his composition as the texts meld perfectly with the music…

I believe it is a recording you will enjoy and want to own…

The music does indeed have the weight and sophistication of “classical music”…The cycle employs the gamut of classical voices…and all of the singers perform most admirably as does the La Brea Symphonietta under the fine direction of Maestra Sharon Lavery.

I enjoyed this song cycle much more than I expected. I found it profound and compelling in many ways, and I was enticed to multiple listenings. © 2012 Read complete review

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