Samuel Jones Composer

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The Open Range (Suite No. 3 from Roundings)

  • “Jones’ musical style falls within the great American symphonic tradition of Copland, Barber, Hanson, and Piston, utilizing a primarily tonal language accented by occasional dissonant and atonal elements music’s beauty and narrative quality keeps you ever attentive and listening for the next sequence, which is always rewarding.” ---Victor Carr, Jr.
Chorale-Overture for Organ and Orchestra
  • “This is very personalized music…Tuneful and tonal, the music rises to a triumphant wall of sound at the finale.” ---Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times
  • “This piece d’occasion served the occasion very well indeed.” R.M---Campbell, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
A Christmas Memory
  • A Christmas Memory seems more like a valentine—fragile and constructed of antique lace—than a Christmas card…The opera’s storyline is uneventful compared with the blood-and-thunder plots of so many operas…but it breathes the nostalgic air of innocence lost forever. Mr. Jones, who as dean put Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music on the musical map in the 1970s, has crafted a compact score that constantly reworks the memorable melody symbolizing the love between the child and his grown-up, but still childlike, friend.…[This is] a fine work, solidly done. It’s definitely a show worth seeing and seeing again.…the best theatrical Christmas surprise in town.” ---Lawrence Taitte, The Dallas Morning News
  • “From the opening sigh motive, a descending half-step that fuels the introduction, the opera’s wistful tone is set.…Jones captures in his music the lyricism of Capote’s story, and illustrates with powerful imagery this relationship, whose memory would haunt Capote throughout his life.” ---Chris Shull, Dallas Observer
  • “Last Friday’s opening-night performance showed Jones as a composer of real substance and significance.…Jones’ opera succeeds magnificently, and it deserves a wide audience.” ---Dennis Vercher, Dallas Voice
Overture for a City
  • “…It was an enjoyable piece…featuring playful woodwinds and bumptious brass, with an occasional soaring violin melody. A symmetry keeps the overture bubbling.” ---Eric Nisula, Saginaw News
  • “…a jovial, buoyant piece that recalls earlier works by Gershwin and Bernstein without imitating either of them.” ---Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times
Elegy for String Orchestra
  • …“a nobility within it that makes it one of the most telling musical works produced in the wake of the horrible event [the assassination of President Kennedy], if not the most telling.” ---Arthur Cohn, Recorded Classical Music
Eudora’s Fable: The Shoe Bird
  • “Samuel Jones’ beautifully orchestrated and carefully crafted Eudora’s Fable: The Shoe Bird is one of the most exciting and imaginative works for narrator, chorus and orchestra to appear in recent years. While designed to introduce children to the instruments of the orchestra, the text, lyrics and music, all by Mr. Jones, are sly and clever enough to appeal to adults as well. Mr. Jones has done a marvelous job of adapting Eudora Welty’s fable for musical depiction. This welcome addition to the literature should enjoy a long and successful performance life and delight audiences of children for years to come.”
    ---Donald Grantham,
    professor of composition and head of the Division of Theory, Composition, and Jazz, School of Music, University of Texas at Austin in his adjudicatory statement for the awarding of the Music Prize, Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters to Samuel Jones for Eudora’s Fable, June, 2003
  • “We presented five successful performances of a new work written by Seattle Symphony composer in residence, Samuel Jones, titled Eudora’s Fable: The Shoe Bird. Our arts in education audiences (10,000 students and teachers of the fifth grade) and Discover Music! audiences offered rave reviews -- from children and adults. There is also an outstanding teacher's guide available.”
    ---Patricia Kim,
    Director of Education and Community Programs, Seattle Symphony in a letter to all major orchestra education directors
  • “Welty’s The Shoe Bird, a cautionary tale about shortchanging your native gifts for whatever’s in fashion, is shot through with the qualities that make Welty’s writing unique—glinting with poetry, showing her playful hand at word associations, conveying multiple layers of meanings and a sense of what’s important and what’s not. Jones has taken the 23,000- word children’s book with multiple characters (mostly birds) and turned it into music, retaining the essence of Welty’s singular message and style. [At one point in the story] there’s a definite element of threat, and Jones’ score conveys that with an unsettling ”Peter and the Wolf” quality. Interwoven with the score are the voices of the birds, with different instruments for different birds’ voices. ---Mary Ann Gwinn, The Seattle Times
Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
  • “ beautifully wrought evocation of the spirit of American folk music.” ---Joseph McLellan, Washington Post
  • “…a substantial and ingenious composition.” ---Irving Lowens, Musical America
  • “[The work] found immediate favor with the audience. But Jones did not write “down” to a common denominator. His command over instrumentation and form impressed not only the novice ear but the intellect of a seasoned musician. The substantive composition grabbed immediate attention with a haunting viola solo over a string bass harmonic. Little by little the orchestral fabric opened up to a magnificent apex.” ---Jeff Manookian, Salt Lake Tribune
  • “The music of Samuel Jones is lovely. His music has its own personality and evidences a great deal of character. I only wish more of it were available on disc.” ---K. Miller, American Record Guide
  • “…unashamedly passionate and a model of fine orchestration.” ---Greensboro Sun
  • “…a finely orchestrated, heartfelt invention on seven folk hymns.” ---Music Journal (New York)
Fanfare and Celebration
  • “This wonderfully constructed piece makes fine use of the brass section and almost bounces with energy.” ---Kay Mohr Paine, Amarillo Daily News
  • “The concert began with Samuel Jones’ festive, flourish-filled Fanfare and Celebration.” ---Carl Cunningham, Houston Post
  • “Majestic idiomatic writing for the brass instruments is interwoven with dazzling effects created by oft-repeated, rapidly ascending “sweeping” gestures. Throughout, the brass sections were given ample opportunity to shine.” ---André Fox, Rice Thresher
Gaudeo (from Canticles of Time: Symphony No. 2)
  • “…a highly exuberant affair…builds to a busy, convuluted, joyous finale.” ---William Albright, Houston Post
  • “We were standing, applauding and cheering. Rejoicing.” ---Danny McKenzie, Jackson Clarion-Ledger
  • “…This new movement, with acrobatic themes constructed out of whizzing scales, was the most convincing work of the evening overall.” ---Gavin Borchart, Seattle Weekly
  • “…a big solid symphonic score…brightly optimistic.” ---Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times
  • “…remarkably neo-romantic in flavor and full of sweet nostalgia. Hard not to like.” ---R.M. Campbell, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Hymn to the Earth (Suite No. 1 from Roundings)
  • “Hymnlike indeed, with its foursquare melodies over rich, shimmering orchestral chords and its resolute tonality, the suite recalls Copland but goes beyond those influences to an idiom that is Jones’ own.” ---Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times
  • “In the Eastern European tradition of mystical music, the three-movement work is slow moving in broad phrases—reflective and serene in nature. The composer has provided a rather elaborate program, but one can readily take in its musical aspects, appealing and often moving, without a hint of the scenario surrounding them.” ---R.M. Campbell, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Machines (Suite No. 2 from Roundings)
  • …“[Jones’] sonic murals are rendered in a highly pictorial fashion. Pounding drilling rigs and swirling string figures in Oil Well break out into a gusher; Locomotive slows down for the station—we hear the train’s whistle, bells, screeching brakes, and hissing steam with startling onomatopoeic immediacy—before it accelerates away. ---Mark L. Lehman, American Record Guide
The Open Range (Suite No. 3 from Roundings)
  • “Jones’ musical style falls within the great American symphonic tradition of Copland, Barber, Hanson, and Piston, utilizing a primarily tonal language accented by occasional dissonant and atonal elements music’s beauty and narrative quality keeps you ever attentive and listening for the next sequence, which is always rewarding.” ---Victor Carr, Jr.
A Symphonic Requiem (Variations on a Theme of Howard Hanson)
  • “It was quite an evening for variations; the opener was “A Symphonic Requiem: Variations on a Theme of Howard Hanson” by Samuel Jones, the orchestra’s composer in residence. Composed after Hanson’s death in 1981 and substantially revised, this is a remarkably successful set of 12 variations in the form of a requiem, displaying Jones’ skills as a master orchestrator. Some of the variations have an almost cinematic feel; others are richly complex, with layers of strings, winds, and brass, with the harp just shimmering through. The composer was present to acknowledge the well-deserved applause.”
    ---Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times
  • Endowed with well-rounded melodies, the work, commissioned to honor Hanson, is admirably crafted, noble in design and a proper tribute to the American composer whose music [Gerard] Schwarz has worked hard to promote. The first performance was in 1983, with a substantial revision earlier this year (2002). Thursday night’s performance was the premiere of the revision.”
    ---R.M. Campbell, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
In Retrospect
  • “…an elegiac piece, convincingly written and well scored, and it had the orchestra’s strings sounding their best.” ---Leslie Gerber, Woodstock Times
  • “There was definitely a haunting, tugging, nostalgic plea in every part of this work…Startling without being forward, the modern idiom was never better used to portray feelings and emotions as this work.” ---Marianne Darrow,
Roundings (Symphonic Suite)
  • “…a full-fledged hit—a fascinating, musical, utterly enjoyable work.” ---Chip Chandler, Amarillo Globe-News
  • “The music‘s beauty and narrative quality keep you ever attentive and listening for the next sequence, which is always rewarding.” ---Victor Carr, Jr.,
The Seas of God
  • “…a mighty vocal fanfare that strides boldly for seven rousing minutes.” ---William Albright, Houston Post
  • “…a festive opener…The chorus took to the adeptly composed work joyously.” ---Charles Ward, Houston Chronicle
  • “…a rousing, soaring score well suited to Whitman’s reflections on the voyages of Columbus. Melodic and tuneful, it was a surprise to those for whom modern music is associated with dissonance. The swelling notes echoed the optimism in Whitman’s words embracing a multicultural globe ‘swimming in space.’…The audience was richly rewarded.” ---Abe D. Jones, Jr., Greensboro News & Record
Symphony No. 2
  • “Jones’ style was brilliant…The resulting work was evocative and, cumulatively, haunting.” ---Charles Ward, Houston Chronicle
  • “…a highly exuberant affair…builds to a busy, convuluted, joyous finale.” ---William Albright, Houston Post
  • “ a stunning success. In time, it should make its way into the standard choral repertoire.” ---Joshua J. Weiner, Music Journal, Miss. Bus. Journal
  • "The music is important and accessible. The words are beautiful and timeless. Both the music and the poetry by themselves are moving. Together, they have a certain kind of power.” ---Jerome Sampson, Jackson Northside Sum
  • “We were standing, applauding and cheering. Rejoicing.” ---Danny McKenzie, Jackson Clarion-Ledger
Symphony No. 3 (Palo Duro Canyon)
  • “…original color, interesting orchestral writing, and evocations worth hearing more than once.” ---R.M. Campbell, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
  • “This ingratiating work [was] at once musically convincing and aesthetically satisfying. Stalwart tonal melodies, supported by mildly dissonant harmonic structures…unabashedly romantic in nature.…Anyone with a mind and heart in working condition could easily fall into the mood created in this music.” ---Matilda Gaume, Canyon News
  • “This piece echoes the words ‘exhilarating’ and ‘total wonderment.’…True-to-life, the symphony opens with the sounds of the wind and concludes on the mystical note of man’s search for meaning.” ---Kay Mohr Paine, Amarillo Daily News
The Temptation of Jesus
  • “Temptation of Jesus engaging to ear; intellect.” --- Richmond Times-Dispatch
  • “…blends the introspective and vividly visual, moving from sophisticated musical effects to crowd-pleasing climaxes.…ingenious orchestral and choral effects…It rewards contemplation and provides entertainment, two functions a good oratorio should perform at the same time.” ---Clarke Bustard, Richmond Times-Dispatch
  • “…The choir was obviously impressed by [Jones’] traditional, tonal style.” ---Charles Ward, Houston Chronicle
The Trumpet of the Swan
  • “Shading here, underlining there, Jones made the listener see how he had seen Welty’s words and how they sounded to him…There is an elegiac air to the piece, a feeling of sadness mixed with hope. The frequent bass underlinings from the orchestra sustained this note. At one point, when Welty wrote that ‘hope and despair were the closest blood—unrecognizable one from the other sometimes,’ Jones’ music doubles back also, male voices underlying those of the women, until there is almost a round at work, richly echoing the point of ‘making moments double upon themselves.’ An ovation was shared by singers, conductor, composer and the famous author after the soaring crescendo of the ending.” ---Abe D. Jones, Jr., Greensboro News & Record

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