Reviews



Two Yeats Songs

“The second half of the program featured the premiere of “Two Yeats Songs” by Consort favorite David Froom, performed here by soprano Emily Noel and violinist Elizabeth Adkins. Froom writes well for the voice, and these songs have the violin and soprano engage in companionable dialogue.”
Joan Reinthaler, Washington Post, February 16, 2014

Amichai Songs (voice and orchestra)

“Mr. Froom’s ‘Amichai Songs’ set three poems (in English translation) by that visionary Israeli poet and managed to capture much of the condensed and emotionally charged nature of their language. The orchestra was breathless and agitated in the first song, dark and ruminating in the second. The baritone William Sharp sang with a smooth and generous tone; in the final song, he shaped the words “light” and “world” with affecting tenderness.”
Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, New York Times, June 18, 2014

Turn of Events

“In Turn of Events (2011) for saxophone and piano, composer David Froom set out to write a piece that avoided obvious saxophone associations. There’s no overt jazz or rock in this work. Froom also steered clear of what he described as the “French classical 1930s sound” — think Bolero. Arranged in one continuous movement (with five discrete sections) and lasting about 15 minutes, Turn of Events explored the saxophone’s virtuoso capabilities and wide expressive range. The piece opened with a short, glistening cadenza for solo saxophone that quickly segued into an energetic and aggressive first section. The saxophone and piano then quickly engaged in musical combat, with the two musicians tossing barbed passages back and forth. When the tension finally subsided, the music became gentle and gauzy. At times, the saxophone almost sounded like a clarinet. In the second and fourth sections, the music was slow, wistful and ardent. The third section, in contrast, was a spiky scherzo, while the conclusion was an extroverted virtuoso romp. Utley and his pianist, Melissa Rose, gave this music a worthy Tennessee premiere. The duo played fast passages with high drama and vitality. They performed slow sections with nuance and warm expression. Froom, who heads the music department at St. Mary’s College in Maryland, was in the audience and took a bow after the performance.”
John Pritcher, ArtsNash, February 4, 2013

Sonata for Violin Solo

“The most striking was David Froom’s Sonata for Violin Solo (2003), movements that segue between episodes of lacy elegance, lurching violence and wistful lyricism, until a furious, rhythmically unbounded, toccatalike finale.”
Anthony Tomasinni, The New York Times, June 30, 2006

“It’s obscenely difficult to write creative, interesting, and listenable pieces for solo instruments, but Froom has done a bang-up job here. Every violin teacher should have at least one student learn this every year.”
Stephen Estep, American Record Guide, Nov/Dec 2010

Lightscapes

“David Froom’s “Lightscapes” was an involving study in contrasts for flute and piano.”
Stephen Brookes, The Washington Post, April 8, 2008

Trio for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano

“David Froom’s 2002 Trio for clarinet, cello and piano is an energetic and compelling study in the evolution of chamber ensemble, from complete dependence to collaborative independence. His three voices power their way in unison through extraordinary feats of rhythmic complexity, as if to prove not only that it can be done, but that it can be done with a sense of spontaneity. They then diverge into stunningly idiosyncratic passages that manage, nevertheless, to preserve a sense of ensemble. The musicians — clarinetist Paul Cigan, cellist David Hardy and pianist Lisa Emenheiser — carried it all off with deceptive ease.”
Joan Reinthaler, The Washington Post, April 19, 2004

Piano Trio #2 “Borders”

“But the ideas flew faster and more furiously in David Froom’s Piano Trio No. 2, “Grenzen” (Borders). The piece is a delight — intellectually engaging, explosive with imagination and with a satisfying visceral power.”
Stephen Brookes, The Washington Post, May 19, 2006

“David Froom’s dreisätziges Stück “Grenzen” erzielt mit formal bekannten Mitteln gute Wirking.” (David Froom’s three-movement work “Grenzen” made a good effect through well-known means.)”
Kronen Zeitung (Vienna), June 3, 2006

Circling

“. . . David Froom’s “Circling” [is] a work in three succinct movements for flute and clarinet (played here by Sara Stern and Paul Cigan, respectively). This particular combination of instruments could easily grow shrill, particularly in louder passages, of which there were many. And yet Froom’s utterances were fashioned with such skill and sensitivity there was never an uninteresting moment. It was as if the instruments were involved in a dialogue, with consonances and dissonances fluctuating in much the same manner as might agreements and disagreements in a spirited discussion.”
Tim Page, The Washington Post, November 3, 2003

Original verion: Duettino (now the third movement of Circling)

“The New York New Music Ensemble gave a concert at Merkin Hall last Monday to celebrate its 25th anniversary. The program lasted four hours, but then there was a lot to celebrate . . . Also on the program were Jacob Druckman’s “Come Round,” Mario Davidovsky’s fantastical “Flashbacks,” John Cage’s “Music for Six” . . . and birthday greetings from Dorrance Stalvey, Stephen Dembski and David Froom. Of these Mr. Froom’s Duettino for flute and clarinet is a piece the ensemble will surely be carrying into its next quarter-century”
Paul Griffiths, The New York Times, April 22, 2002

Arirang Variations for alto saxophone, bassoon, and piano

“[Variation form] allows Californian David Froom (b. 1951) to range freely through differing styles, and to contrast meditative segments with faster music, much of which is dazzling and even aggressive. In this 11-minute rhapsody, all the thematic material is drawn from the initial Arirang melody, a traditional Korean tune sung to “a departing loved one.” It is warmly played at the opening by Benjamin Coelho’s bassoon.”
Phillip Scott, Fanfare Magazine

Arabesque CD

“Dating from 1990-1996, these works show Froom’s edgy and primarily dissonant voice evolving through a wider range of harmonic colors and even some use of consonance. The chamber concerto of 1991, for Pierrot ensemble, revels in some particulary voluptuous harmonic language while the eight pieces of the 1995 piano suite embrace a wide variety of characters and gestures from brutality to gossamer lightness. The quintet (1994) is the most neo-tonal of the works here and the piece for solo flute drifts freely between tonal, atonal and modal harmonic languages. The string quartet, however, is diverges markedly from its discmates in its angry expressionism, aggressive restlessness and rigorous motivic development.”
Records International Catalogue, July 1998

“The sound-world of David Froom is rich and varied. The interval content of the pieces on the Arabesque disc leans towards more consonant intervals but is free from more than fleeting references to tonal centers. This music is colorful, rhythmically alive, and contains a wealth of satisfying and expressive melodies. The performances are, in every piece, excellent — especially in the Chamber Concerto, a fine work, scored for Pierrot plus percussion (flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano). This work deserves to be played often and to join the rich repertoire of this interesting and fertile instrumental combination. Arabesque’s sound is very clear, without sacrificing warmth.”
Stephen D. Hicken, American Record Guide, Nov/Dec 1998

Chamber Concerto

“Froom’s Chamber Concerto . . . is a highly engaging work in five continuous movements lasting about 14 minutes. Froom’s program note had interesting things to say about its form . . . but you didn’t have to know musical form to appreciate and enjoy the strength of the writing. Basically it’s a series of imaginative, various, resourceful and appealing developments of a single theme, which is stated at the outset by the cello and harked back to again and again. The emotional variety comes in changing tempos, the slow movements are particularly affecting as the melody is passed around, fractured (but tenderly), matched with other strains, sung solo and in duet (nice writing for the clarinet and flute).”
William Glackin, The Sacramento Bee, November 8, 1991

Article headline: CONCERTO DEMONSTRATES APPEAL OF NEW MUSIC
Maryland composer’s work pursues a single theme with lively ramifications
“When a piece of music hits home the first time you hear it, it’s natural to want to hear it again as soon as possible. The New York New Music Ensemble, which had performed the world premiere of David Froom’s Chamber Concerto in the gala opening of the Festival of New American Music at Channel 6 Wednesday night, did the work again in its concert in the Recital Hall at California State University Thursday night, and it was a success all over again. It seems likely that in the halls where attention is paid to contemporary music, this piece is going to get played a lot . . . The work’s five continuous movements, providing variety in its tempos and climaxes, steadily pursues a remarkable, interesting and appealing development of a single, sizable theme, with all sorts of lively ramifications. Without hankering for the past in its sounds, it makes the present seem a good place to be.”
William Glackin, The Sacramento Bee, November 9, 1991

“Californian David Froom’s 15-minute Chamber Concerto for varied sextet balances diatonic pastoralism with acerbic angularity, Stravinskian rhythmic urgency with lyrical counterpoint. An idee fixe runs through its six connected movements. On first acquaintance, an enjoyable work.”
Timothy Mangan, The Los Angeles Times, November 13, 1991

” . . . David Froom . . . was on hand for an extended and richly deserved ovation. Based on a single theme strong enough to power five movements and 14 minutes of music, the work is notable for a tight structure enlivened by a wealth of fascinating instrumental textures.”
Don Maclean, The Washington Post, December 9, 1991

“. . . a seamless framework for the five movements, played without pause. The concerto’s sonic variety was intriguing in a soft-spoken way. As a craftsman, Froom stood out from the pack.”
Charles McCardell, American Record Guide, March/April 1994

“. . . a largely melodic, fifteen minute piece . . . attractive writing, particularly for solo cello and flute.”
Philip Radcliffe, Manchester (England) Evening News, October 31, 1998

“. . . a fine work, scored for Pierrot plus percussion (flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano). This work deserves to be played often and to join the rich repertoire of this interesting and fertile instrumental combination.”
Stephen D. Hicken, American Record Guide, Nov/Dec 1998

To Dance to the Whistling Wind

“a spell of introspective intensity . . . wonderfully concise and effective . . . [made its] points with quiet power.”
Cecelia Porter, The Washington Post, January 26, 1998

Emerson Songs

” . . . sturdy bardic vocalizations with growling woodwind effects, [this] was most striking musically. Froom keeps his musical timbres true to the Emerson texts throughout the cycle.”
Clarke Bustard, Richmond Times-Dispatch, October 5, 1996

” . . . the woodsiness and melancholy in the lower winds and strings left a vivid impression, and [Froom’s] sensitive text settings brought a warm response from [soprano Jenn] Cobb.”
Joe Banno, The Washington Post, October 17, 1996

“Schadeberg sang Froom’s eloquent, interesting ‘Emerson Songs.’ . . . Her singing of the last line . . . was certainly powerful enough to convey the rapt vision of love the words expressed. But the instrumental conclusion took the intensity that much further up the scale.”
William Glackin, The Sacramento Bee, April 27, 1998

“At all times, Schadeberg’s melding of voices with instruments . . . emphasized her (and Froom’s) musical sensitivity.”
Marilyn Mantay, Davis Enterprise, April 29, 1998

“Ralph Waldo Emerson would be pleased with Froom’s contemporary settings.”
Radio review, Davis, California,April 30, 1998

Fantasy Dances

“Three ‘Fantasy Dances’ by David Froom for piano, violin, viola, cello, flute, clarinet and virtuoso percussion were high-energy, appealing movements . . .”
Joan Reinthaler, The Washington Post, January 29, 2001

Kick Off!

“. . . a light-hearted and outgoing flashy showpiece . . . includes melodic material built of cascading arpeggios and fanfare figures. It is an extremely accessible piece for most audiences.”
Horn Call Magazine, February 2000

“David Froom’s Kick Off! for Brass Septet captures the excitement of a football contest, from the music’s first “play” through the work’s conclusion, a “rush to the goal line” . . . ”
Fanfare, May/June 2000

“The best [works on this CD] are two brass septets, David Froom’s Kick Off! and Robert Patterson’s Fantasy and Stomping Music. Froom, who teaches composition and theory at St. Mary’s [College of Maryland], gave these outstanding brass players lots to do in a work that says a great deal in four minutes. The ending, with trumpeter Silberschlag on a stratospheric F-sharp, is spectacular.”
American Record Guide, March/April 2000

Piano Sonata

“For a bravura finale of nearly unimaginable proportions, the recital ended with David Froom’s Sonata. . .”
Mark Swed, The Los Angeles Herald Examiner, October 25, 1982

“Two of the finest works were sonatas by young composers. . . David Froom’s sonata is a charged and clangorous work, intensely dramatic yet deeply formal. . . It has a truculent romanticism and a hard passion, and made a strong first impression. It will be good to hear it again.”
Tim Page, The New York Times, October 1, 1985

“. . . full of passion and drama. . .”
Anne Mathews, The Salt Lake Tribune, November 27, 1985

Article headline: SONATA A STANDOUT ON CONTEMPORARY PROGRAM.
“All of the pieces had their particular merit, but the one that grabbed the ears and held on tenaciously was David Froom’s Piano Sonata.”
Marilyn Tucker, The San Francisco Chronicle, November 19, 1987

“David Froom’s grandiose, tumultuous ‘Sonata’ [was] the evening’s potent finale.”
Andrew Adler, Louisville Courier-Journal, November 3, 1989

“It’s a work that starts big, and stays big, almost without letup, throughout the excited first movement. In the quiet, thoughtful second movement, dissonances are used in the service of exquisite feeling . . . The finale seems to be running as fast as it can, with a brief pause to hark back to the mood of the second movement before taking off again to a finish in climactic octaves, as if to recall the octaves with which the work began.”
William Glackin, The Sacramento Bee, November 14, 1991

“. . . a late entry in the century’s long list of big, rhetorical, dissonant Statements for piano . . . Froom has an inventive mind and a complete compositional arsenal, fully deployed in this piece.”
Scott Wheeler, Fanfare Magazine, March/April 1992

Piano Suite

“The program . . . opened with the stern and concentrated poetry of David Froom’s ‘Piano Suite.’ Homing in on the joints between movements, [pianist] Nanette Butler Shannon emphasized the continuity of the vastly disparate moods that are spun from a prologue of embryonic ruminations in the nether regions of the piano.”
Thomas May, The Washington Post, November 16, 1996

“The contrasts explored in David Froom’s ‘Piano Suite,’ [performed by Brian Ganz . . . covered] a broad emotional range in its brief span.”
Thomas May, The Washington Post, October 1, 1996

“It takes full advantage of the piano’s resources, yet the musical purpose is always served. I was glad to see that composers are still writing large-scale piano pieces of substance and genuine expressivity.”
Leo Kraft, The New Music Connoisseur, Spring 1998

Down to a Sunless Sea

String Orchestra
“Froom’s ‘Down to a Sunless Sea’ was a pleasing anomaly in the program — abstract and modern in contrast with the tonality of the rest of the program. Dedicated to Silverstein and the Utah Symphony, it . . . has considerable melodic and rhythmic interest. In writing the piece, Froom exploited different colors from the strings, and the result is imaginative variety. Skillfully and thoughtfully conceived, ‘Down to a Sunless Sea’ is full of motion, with wavelike crescendos and decrescendos. It ends with a soft, slowly ascending line on the violins punctuated with gentle, plucked notes on the basses, a conclusion that left one with a sense of completeness. The work was warmly received by the audience.”
Anne Mathews, The Salt Lake Tribune, Nov 15, 1987

Quintet
“‘Down to a Sunless Sea’ (a quote from Coleridge’s ‘Kubla Khan’) is a gloomy-sounding sort of title, and Froom’s music (for a string quintet including double bass) certainly has its pensive moments. Mystery is a part of its atmosphere, but gloom is not; it is slow-moving, rich-textured music, emotionally eloquent and evocative of vast, private spaces.”
Joseph McLellan, The Washington Post, May 20, 1991

“The music . . . was fascinating as it pursued its own ‘mazy motion’ (Coleridge’s term for ‘Alph, the sacred river’) through its 13-minute course.”
William Glackin, The Sacramento Bee, November 14, 1991

“From the spare and lonely reaches of desert in David Froom’s ‘Down to a Sunless Sea’ . . . the listener’s ear was bathed and caressed with the language of the soul.”
The St. George [Utah] Spectrum, October 14, 1992

Quartet for Piano and Strings

“Froom’s Piano Quartet had its first performance. It is an engaging piece — well planned, succinct, warmly felt, and decisively written.”
Andrew Porter, The New Yorker, May 12, 1986

“. . . a four-movement work . . . from within which a sense of Romantic warmth emerges, first in the piano line, then in the increasingly sweet string melodies.”
Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, February 6, 1989

“First off Tuesday was a Piano Quartet by David Froom that spoke out with musical ideas of substance, feeling and character. An arresting cello theme launched the piece with urgency. From then on, through four movements, Froom’s music took on its materials cogently and fresh, with a persistently renewing rhythmic impetus. There is a warmly expressive slow movement, a potent Scherzo and a slow last movement readdressing what has gone before in a satisfying reflection. The writing for the piano, violin, viola and cello was imaginative and sounded new but unforced. This is a work to live with and savor again.”
Robert Commanday, The San Francisco Chronicle, May 10, 1990

“At times it hints at the best of both Bartok and Schoenberg, but it is a work of originality, not eclecticism. It was a commanding opening to the program.”
Ken Krehbiel, The Washington Post, December 11, 1991

“I’ve enjoyed this work through many listenings — it’s a beauty of a piece.”
Scott Wheeler, Fanfare Magazine, March/April 1992

Quintet for Oboe, Strings and Piano

“Intense, direct communication . . . intricately melodious . . . it features each player, at one time or another, as a soloist, pairs them off in ingeniously imagined duets, and blends their skills in great, climactic passages for the whole ensemble.”
Joseph McLellan, The Washington Post, April 10, 1995

Second Ballade for Piano with DX-7 Synthesizer

“. . . Glassy, brilliant writing for the piano.”
Tim Page, The New York Times, Nov 19, 1986

“David Froom, in his Second Ballade for Piano and DX-7, showed himself to be as forceful a player as he is a composer. Densely written, the piece has both strength and turbulence . . . There is a lot to grab the ear and hold it . . .”
William Goodfellow, Deseret News, April 30, 1987

Two Songs with Interlude

“‘Two Songs with Interlude’ by David Froom required instrumental doubling and tripling so that four could sound like eight behind soprano Pamela Jordan. The union of voice with instruments effectively dramatized the text’s concern for reconciliation of time past, present and future.”
Charles McCardell, The Washington Post, March 25, 1991

Fantasy for Violin and Piano

“Froom’s ‘Fantasy for Violin and Piano’ . . . led off the program. The piece is structurally straightforward, but presented in modern tonal language, unfolding in long, listenable phrases. Both musicians displayed good command of the idiom and achieved fine balance and ensemble. Highlights were a dreamy, slow-motion slow section and a witty scherzo, where bounding piano chords . . . and vigorous double stopping [in the violin] combined in a kind of musical game of leapfrog.”
Catherine Reese, The Salt Lake Tribune, February 1, 1991

“Its concise four-movements-in-one structure sweeps the listener along from the increasingly agitated opening, the limpid piano writing of the slow section and the playful pizzicati of the scherzo, culminating in a flashily incisive finale.”
William S. Goodfellow, Deseret News [Salt Lake City], February 2, 1991

Duo for Two Violins

“Froom’s Duo for Two Violins, which opened the program, plays with the relationship of the two players in interesting ways, with the dominance possessed by the first violin . . . in the second movement gradually passing to the second violin . . . A real togetherness seemed to develop in the finale, which works its way to a quiet ending.”
William Glackin, The Sacramento Bee, November 14, 1991