REVIEWS / COMMENTS
The Twilight Turns from Amethyst
“Sometimes I have to -really- dig into a piece to find what I'm looking for; sometimes, I don't have enough time to even break the surface. Sometimes even the Masters come up short, and then sometimes it's with a living composer that you discover a pearl... what a feeling!
French Noel -Noel Nouvelet
Bright Cap and Streamers
From Heaven Above
Before the Paling of the Stars
"It is a short gem, beautifully set to the famous text by Rosetti. It opens with a haunting melody and closes with a glorious increase of sonority to a very uplifting final chord. For our group, and the project in particular, we found that this piece fit us exactly."
"Britten hovers over Before the Paling of the Stars with its moments of austere beauty" -David Katz, The American Prize
"With elegantly sculpted phrases, this a cappella chorale is the perfect way to bring out a well-balanced, lush choral blend." Hal Leonard Pub. review Hal Leonard
" For a cappella SATB chorus (with divisi), this setting of Shakespeare's Sonnet 87 is full of longing and desire. Voices fit comfortably around the ranges of their parts, and will resonate beautifully within the warm, sonorous harmonic language of Wayland Rogers." Hal Leonard Pub. review
"I have been programming works by Wayland Rogers for several seasons, with great pleasure. His style is both sophisticated and immediately accessible. His music flows with the grace of good singing, which is natural since Wayland himself is a superb singer.It has been a treat to rehearse and perform "Been Down into the Sea," which Chicago a cappella premiered in May 1996. Here, Rogers has a deft feel for the harmonies -- and especially the unique voicings -- of the African-American spiritual. While placing his own stamp on the traditional spiritual's tune, he always maintains a sense of integrity and a conception of the whole. Our singers have enjoyed singing the piece as well."
--Jonathan Miller, Artistic Director
What Sweeter Music "Wayland Rogers' What Sweeter Music.....: a setting of Robert Herrick written for the ensemble in 1994 and beautifully redolent of the English part-song; melodic, attractive and with slightly austere textures.
"What Sweeter Music is also a joy to sing and to conduct. While it is a long work, it does not "feel" long, but just right. It breathes and builds and releases several times, each refrain taking its own shape and character.There is an intense lyricism in the piece, built in part by gently rising lines and well-shaped dynamics. Most of all, however, Rogers knows how to build beautiful vocal lines, and he shapes them for all the singers -- even in the many divisi passages -- with that sensitivity. This has become one of my favorite Christmas works. I am happy to be programming it for a second round of holiday concerts."
What Sweeter Music
--Dorothy Andries - Pioneer Press
"What Sweeter Music", it is indeed sweet, sensitive and beautifully written music. You write gorgeously for voices! Bravo!".
--Ralph N.Jackson, Assistant Vice President, BMI Classical Music Relations
"What Sweeter Music", The adjudicators were unanimous in praising the maturity and effectiveness of your writing, also your control over the musical materials, text, and technique. We thank you for submitting the work to our contest.".
--Lee S. Spear, Chair of Chautauqua Chamber Singers 1998 Choral Composition contest, of which WHAT SWEETER MUSIC was first Place Winner.
The Women's Chorus of Dallas was most honored to perform your beautiful arrangement of "Sleep, Kentucky Babe"at our June concert. It was a particular favorite of the chorus and audience members. Dr. Seelig had the chorus sing softer and softer until audience members were on the edge of their seats with tears in their eyes. What a beautiful lullaby!
--Eve Campbell, Executive Director
Review by Robert Demaree, CHORAL JOURNAL, May 1999
"These evocative, creative pieces present a variety of choral textures for a women's choir. They are somewhat reminiscent of Vincent Perischetti's Winter Cantata in their use of nature texts and rather spare melodies. The texts were written by the Japanese Children's poet, Michio Mado. The first movement, "A Pleasant Landscape," begins by creating the image of water shimmering in the sun. Four separate rhythmic ostinato patterns are used additively, one voice per voice part, to build a B flat Lydian scale. The notes oscillate like small waves on a lake, and the dynamics of this texture never exceed ppp. The remainder of the movement creates images of trees and mountains. The second movement, "A Dog Walks," is quite humorous. Both regular and onomatopoetic texts are used in this contrapuntal piece. Melodically and rhythmically, it is quite accessible, but independence of parts is essential to create the humor of the work. This movement is notable for its rehearsal lettering system. Each rehearsal letter has an accompanying word or phrase, such as "A (as in) Arff," "B (as in) Bone," and "E (as in) Every Dog Has His Day." What fun to have an inside joke between the conductor and singers. the final movements, "Butterflies," abounds in harmonic richness and stands apart from the first two movements because it is very homophonic in nature and is brief. A solo soprano is required in this movement. This is the most accessible of the three settings and should be within the grasp of most children's choirs."
"The Glen Ellyn Children's Chorus has performed two of Wayland Rogers' compositions for treble voices. "O GIVE THANKS" was performed by our beginning level ensemble. It lies well for the young voice, and has an expressive melody and sensitivity to text which our children very much enjoyed. Kitty Alone," an American folk song arrangement, was premiered by our intermediate level ensemble. They enjoyed its buoyant accompaniment, and challenges of mixed meter and three-part singing. These are both good pieces for young choirs to explore and add to their repertoire."
"I couldn't pass up the opportunity to tell you how much I enjoy your piece "O GIVE THANKS". I have programmed it several times this year... with my high school women, at a citywide festival my children's chorus sponsored, at the Crescent City Choral Festival with 400 singers in June, and finally at the Choral Music Experience course which I direct at the University of South Carolina. I find that it never fails to move audiences and singers. Every time I conduct it I like it more."
AS LATELY WE WATCHED "This luminous setting of the 18 century Austrian caroldepicts a scene of young shepherds preparing to visit the manger of the newborn Christ-Child.Includes both English text and original, more rustic German text in Austiran dialect. TBB with Piano" --Hal Leonard
GARTAN MOTHER'S LULLABY "This haunting melody comes from the County Donegal, Ireland. Like so much of the literature and music of the country, it is imbued with images of natural beauty and figures from the magical world of the fairies."
BEEN DOWN INTO THE SEA "If you are looking for a spiritual that will feature a baritone voice with chorus, this will suit that purpose nicely. With some divisi, this is an excellent showcase for concert or festival performance."
Peppers Music Network Review
THE LORD'S PRAYER The infectious calypso rhythm and catchy melody of this well known Trinidad folk song gives the traditional "Lord's Prayer" a joyous, almost spiritual-like feeling. 'Hallow-ed-a-be thy name!' "
Peppers Music Network Review
LA PERLA "A bittersweet song by Cuban composer Anselmo Lopez is the subject of this setting for mixed choir that features a beautiful melody and the sounds of a slow Latin waltz. Believed to have been written in the early 1900s, the song expresses the composer's longing for the days when Cuba's pristine beauty was untainted by imperial domination. Its haunting feeling will add a change of pace to your concert programming."
Peppers Music Network Review
MESSE BASSE "Faure's Messe Basse, first performed in a small French church in 1872, was orignally written for women's voices. Rogers' new arrangement winningly adapts this magnificent music for mixed voices. With organ."
CANTATE! SING! "Strong dance-like rhythms carry the opening words of Psalm 96 and make this an exciting selection. Using both English and Latin text, this work combines engaging vocal counterpoint with stirring energy.In two versions (for SATB or SSA) With piano or organ."