Reviews

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"...most knowledgeable contemporary choral aficionados consider Ferko one of America's handful of truly great choral composers."

--AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE


The works of Frank Ferko have been regularly reviewed in journals and newspapers around the world. Publications in which these reviews have appeared include Gramophone (UK), Choir & Organ (UK), International Record Review, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, New York Times, American Record Guide, Fanfare, Choral Journal (American Choral Directors Association), Journal of Singing (National Association of Teachers of Singing), The Diapason, The American Organist, Classics Today, and New York Music Daily. Excerpts from selected reviews appear below.


La remontée des cendres, performed by Cantori New York, conducted by Mark Shapiro

"The program reached a peak with the New York premiere of Frank Ferko's La Remontée Des Cendres (Rising from the Ashes), utilizing chillingly graphic, tormented, anguished segments from Tahar Ben Jalloun's First Gulf War-era epic poem. Told from the point of view of several Iraqi war survivors and victims, it has a shattering eloquence. An eight-piece brass-and-string ensemble anchored by Frank Cassara's almost subsonic, distantly thunderous bass drum and Kris Saebo's ominous downtuned bass carried Ferko's terse, cruelly fatalistic foreshadowing in between the choir's somber passages. A muted sense of horror was everywhere, in the same vein as Shostakovich's most harrowing works (String Quartet No. 8 comes to mind). Countertenor Siman Chung and soprano Halley Gilbert added knifes-edge intensity on the high end, up to a couple of horror-stricken, explosive crescendos, a hint at something approximating a peaceful ending, a jaggedly leaping march and eventually a decay into defeated atmospherics whose effect lingered long past a series of standing ovations. Like the Bettinelli piece, it's a shock that this hasn't been performed here before. " --New York Music Daily, March 15, 2016

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Stabat Mater

"If Ferko's Stabat Mater is not a masterpiece, it comes closer to being one than any contemporary composition I have heard in recent years . . . a transcendently beautiful work . . . crafted with a masterful hand . . . Give this recording a chance and you will discover much glorious music, as well as a greatly gifted and compelling new voice on the music scene." --Fanfare

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"This extended setting for unaccompanied chorus of an ancient Latin hymn...makes for compelling listening, passing through a wide variety of styles but always revealing Ferko to be a master at both text setting and handling a cappella forces." --Gramophone

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"Ferko's Stabat Mater is a remarkable achievement... This is music of of uncommon eloquence, transcendently moving with moments of striking inspirational beauty." --Chicago Tribune

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"It's a marvelously intricate and sincerely devout tour de force... " --Chicago Tribune

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"This music commands attention from its very first note. " --International Record Review

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"10/10 -- It as been a long time since a major new choral work could make such a good first impression
. . . Powerful and painfully beautiful music . . . A real find." --ClassicsToday.com

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The Hildegard Motets

"...we existed in a world of perfect harmony, created by the link between a mystical poet/composer of the 12th century and a composer very much of the 20th. Leaving it was not easy."
"... a performance that took listeners to a separate universe."
"This is music that deserves a wider audience."
--Chicago Sun Times

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Magnificat

"Perhaps my favorite piece here is a gorgeous setting of the classic Magnificat text in the King James Version from Frank Ferko. His music has earned the favor of choirs all over America and abroad." --American Record Guide

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O salutaris hostia

"...this brilliant anthem is set mostly homophonically with spectacular harmonies on beautiful phrase shapes. Treble voices will just simply ring on harmonies in both upper and lower tessituras. Ferko understands treble voices and therefore writes extremely well for this type of artistic force. A scholar of Hildegard von Bingen, Ferko uses chantlike phrase shapes and harmonies much like what you would find in the 12th century composer's music." --Spectrum Music Newsletter

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Hildegard Organ Cycle

"...Ferko's style has that mystical quality that defies the boundaries of time... It is definitely music that needs to be experienced rather than understood." --American Record Guide

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Variations on "Veni Creator Spiritus"

"Each succeeding variation offers strikingly new perspectives on the old tune. ... The work, while demanding, is truly satisfying and deserves a place among the fine variations of this noble tune. " --The Diapason

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Merton Songs

"This is a lovely and interesting set of songs on subjects not often entertained by song composers." -- Journal of Singing