August 10, 2023

'Forward Into Light' and 'Something for the Dark' Draw Strong Praise in Performances by Cabrillo and Cleveland

Sarah's NYPhil-commissioned 'Forward Into Light,' in a performance by the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra under Cristian Macelaru, and her Detroit Symphony-commissioned 'Something for the Dark,' in a performance by the Cleveland Orchestra, drew strong praise from critics in August 2023 performances.

Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle called 'Forward Into Light' a "tenderly rapturous tone poem," while the San Francisco Classical Voice praised the work's "faintest of flute flurries giving way to lyrical modules making their glittery points in a tonal language. Though this is not a minimalist work, the winds and brass frequently simulate digital delay effects, with notes and phrases echoing away into silence."

Of the Cleveland Orchestra's performance of 'Something for the Dark,' Mark S. Jordan of Seen and Heard international wrote: "a mysterious and moody ten-minute opener that combined some modern, modal minimalism relatable to Adams with cinematic gestures and harmonies that threw back to Sibelius. The piece started with warmth, but there was mystery too. Snider quickly established her long game, harmonically spinning out passages, forcing a sense of longing before any phrase resolves. As the piece went on, it grew darker, the handsome surfaces becoming more crinkled and troubled, building up tension that erupted at its climax in sonorous cracks of timpani and snare drum.

"True to its harmonic style, it did not so much resolve as dissolve at the end, but the sense of a turning point had been made. Robertson was in assured control, and the orchestra played magnificently, the reverberant acoustics of the Blossom pavilion contributing to the sense of atmosphere. Not only was Snider, who was in attendance, received warmly by the audience, she was given a second ovation by the portion of the crowd that spotted her heading back to her seat afterwards, an auspicious welcome to a composer making her Cleveland Orchestra debut."

Daniel Hathaway of Cleveland Classical wrote: "The concert began with a captivating performance of Sarah Kirkland Snider’s “Something for the Dark” which is also something of a concerto for orchestra. Built up from ever-changing layers of color, the piece starts out with bright hues, then becomes somber. Interesting pairings of percussion instruments, especially the coupling of harp and celeste, take on an ethereal sound world that accentuates the colors of the piece.

David Robertson and the Orchestra gave the 12-minute work a persuasive reading, and Robertson brought Snider onstage to receive a warm round of applause."