Many thanks to the Flute New Music Consortium for selecting me as the winner of their 2018 Composition Competition!
Thanks to the New Criterion for the mention of the premiere of the clarinet trio.
" Hallman’s trio succeeds as music, stories aside. It is intelligent and sincere. There is no fakery in it, which counts for a lot."
Thanks to the Rutland Herald for the review of "The Seagull and the Star" based on poetry and cartoons of Vermont's state poet (Sydney Lea) and cartoonist (James Kolchaka)!
"Hallman’s deeply textured music was interspersed between reading parts of the poem. While not specifically designated as the poem’s characters, the piccolo and the clarinet/bass clarinet proved the music’s protagonists in a world created by violin, viola and cello.
Hallman’s music was primarily textural, with the instruments weaving a colorful tapestry, varying colors in response to the tale. The language was largely tonal, but spiced up with clashing harmonies and rhythms. Despite some monochromatic sections, Hallman’s attractive music created the multi-layered atmosphere suggested by Lea and Kochalka’s inviting work."
Thanks to The Classical Source for the review of the BBC SO premiere of my "ricordi decomposti: a Gesauldo Suite" .
"The concert had started with a chamber-sized BBCSO – strings (reduced), woodwinds, a little brass, and some percussion (bells, vibraphone, glockenspiel) – for Joseph Hallman’s Gesualdo Suite (also composed this year). Carlo Gesualdo (1566-1613), the murderer of his adulterous wife and her lover, his princely status making him beyond the law, was an adventurous composer, his music also attracting Stravinsky for his Monumentum pro Gesualdo di Venosa. Hallman (born in Philadelphia in 1979) has looked at Gesualdo’s Sixth Book of Madrigals, music that is beautiful, strange and harmonically daring. His transcriptions are sympathetic, the titular ricordi decomposti (decomposed memories) alternating with ‘intermezzi sospirosi’ (whisper interludes). All very imaginative and affecting, including opportunities for the players to quietly vocalise, this sensitive and eloquent account of music courtly, perky and, most of all, spacious and unpredictable, made for hypnotic if (in a good sense) unsettling listening. The last two movements were not included, presumably because they are taken from a different Gesualdo collection, an omission authorised by the composer"
Thanks to The Gaurdian for the review of the BBC SO premiere of my "ricordi decomposti: a Gesauldo Suite" .
"Weilerstein began the evening with his fellow American Joseph Hallman’s atmospheric ricordi decomposti, an enticingly scored chamber orchestral setting of vocal music by Shakespeare’s contemporary Carlo Gesualdo. Here too, nothing was quite as it seemed, as harmonies flickered and dissolved, cymbals shivered amid the apparently assured renaissance tonalities and the string players whispered and sighed spookily to themselves as they played. "
Thanks to The Telegraph for the review of the BBC SO premiere of my "ricordi decomposti: a Gesauldo Suite" .
"ricordi decomposti is a suite of Gesualdo arrangements by the Philadelphia-based composer Joseph Hallman. Commissioned for Weilerstein's Lausanne Chamber Orchestra earlier this year, they use modest forces to speak with lightness and transparency. Three interludes, each marked "intermezzo sospiroso", call for a section of the orchestra to whisper while others play."
Thanks to the London Evening Standard for the review of the BBC SO premiere of my "ricordi decomposti: a Gesauldo Suite" .
"American composer Joseph Hallman’s “Gesualdo suite” ricordi decomposti (“decomposed memories”), here receiving its UK premiere, hinted at dark deeds without needing to be specific. Its euphonious, occasionally Renaissance-like shards of melody drifted in and out of focus, while the orchestral players’ whispered mutterings never quite coalesced into verbal meaning. Without suggesting great individuality, the suite successfully created an atmosphere of sombre foreboding."
Thanks to "Seen and Heard International" for the review of the BBC Symphony Orchestra's premiere of my "ricordi decomposti: a Gesauldo Suite"
"There was much to interest and delight the listener; Hallman has clearly both exercised technical discipline and allowed his imagination to work freely. The music was airy, transparent and finely wrought."
Thanks to the WP for the review of a new clarinet trio- premiered by Anthony McGill, Alisa Weilerstein, and Inon Barnatan.
"Hallman is a talented composer who knows how to pull the ear along and leaves one wanting to hear more."
From Gramophone Magazine:
"Joseph Hallman's "The Extraordinary Gryssandra Wycke" creates a world of 'levitation, reanimation and death' so vivid that the sounds the instruments make themselves assume personalities as if they were characters in a Diaghilev ballet."
From the Boston Globe:
“DreamLog,” by Philadelphia-based composer Joseph Hallman, is a modular piece, 11 movements from which performers may pick and choose. Weilerstein and Barnatan opted for four atmospheric sketches, almost filmlike in their centering on mood (including one explicit cinematic reference: “An Arctic Moment, Post-Massacre, à la ‘The Thing,’ ” the performers adding miked breathing effects to a collection of appropriately icy chords). The music is, perhaps by design, fleeting, with a penchant for condensing clouds of dissonance into fragments of old-fashioned lyricism. Each movement of “DreamLog” was almost like an empty set, waiting for actors."
about "DreamLog" from Boston Classical Review.
"Friday night, Weilerstein and Barnatan offered four movements of the work. It’s difficult to judge a piece based on only a few selections, but from what was heard Friday night DreamLog makes colorful and evocative use of the cello and piano.
The first of the pieces performed opened with a series of agitated statements on a single note in the cello while silky harmonies soared overhead in the piano part. The second involved a celestial wash of thin cello harmonics and stark piano harmonies. The third piece, which bears the title “Poulenc/ Picasso versus Shostakovich/ Kandinsky,” is chock-full of driving, percussive rhythms, which the duo played with boldness and precision.
Most colorful was the fourth movement, a musical depiction of an Arctic landscape that was bare in texture and haunting in effect. Weilerstein and Barnatan took turns inhaling and exhaling into microphones for sounds that provided an eerie accompaniment to the cellist’s thin strands of melody and the stratospheric piano harmonies. The music broke into brief stretches of tender melody, though the piece quickly returned to the glassy sonorities that opened the movement.
Weilerstein and Barnatan played the selections from DreamLog with fine touch and sensitivity to make a strong case for Hallman’s work."
Very grateful for the kind words and the inclusion on NYTimes Classical playlist:
"...as well as a buoyant song cycle by Mr. Hallman that simply must be heard."
Exotic locales are natural daydreams on a cold, rainy day
At Strathmore Mansion, Inscape continues quest to show new music at its best
"Two pieces by Joseph Hallman singled him out as the one to watch, especially “Imagined Landscapes,” six atmospheric miniatures inspired by the nightmares of H. P. Lovecraft. Even the use of whispers, shouts and other noises did not seem like a cheap effect but part of a musical whole, a complement to the composer’s skillful handling of
each instrument. "
Conductor Joshua Weilerstein on my work in the Jewish Journal:
For his Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra debut, Weilerstein is scheduled to open the program with the West Coast premiere of Hallman’s “Imagined landscapes: six Lovecraftian elsewheres.”
“Hallman’s work is criminally under-represented,” he said. “His piece is inspired by [horror fiction writer] H.P. Lovecraft, and it’s strange in an atmospheric way, creating an air of mystery.”
Aphorisms : "Mr. Hallman's writing is eclectic, ranging from a Bartokian muscularity to the evocation of a zither during an inside-the-piano passage that accompanied one of the García Lorca poems."
A Natural Comes of Age : "the composer Joseph Hallman, has written two concertos for her, which she calls ''totally amazing.''"
A fun interview with Ginny Kennedy on Alabama Public Radio, WLRH and Maestro Joe Lee! (Man, I love Alabama!)
Kari Anderson speaks with Joseph Hallman about the collaboration, and about his compositional process.
an essay, "The Shame of Poverty and Investing in the Future" on NewMusicBox!
Philadelphia Gay News: Best of Gay Philly 2012
Steamboat Today (CO)
"All of the music recorded here is for acoustic instruments -- no computers, no electronic processing -- and it is music that is long on harmonic and melodic interest and blessedly short on intellectual or mathematical gimmicks, without sounding overly neo-Romantic or derivative. The most beautiful examples are pieces by Philadelphia-based composer Joseph Hallman, beginning with Three Poems of Jessica Hornik, sentiment-laden songs written for the pretty, intonation-sure voice of soprano Abigail Lennox, who sings them here. Showing off Hallman's sure handling of instruments even more are the Imagined Landscapes, miniatures based on the nightmarish dreamscapes of H. P. Lovecraft that exploit all sorts of unexpected sounds."
Recovering Oboist (Blog)