Gramophone, March 2011

“Just when you thought the string quartet may have reached the edge of sonic possibilities, along comes a composer who makes something novel, haunting and whimsical of the genre… Highly recommended.”  Gramophone, re ‘Insects and Paper Airplanes’

“The music of composer Lawrence Dillon melds whimsy and mystery in an oddly irresistible fashion. His pieces have a magnetism that has earned him the attention and acclaim of the musical world, with famous ensembles commissioning works written by his award-winning hand.”   — NPR

“This unassuming quiet work shows there are still things of greatness to say in the tonal language. Over the cello choir toned like muted trombones, the violin rhapsodized cantilenas as sad as they were dignified, both in composition and execution. Most touching was when the music came nearly to a stop as the mind that reaches a cul-de-sac remembers a loved one. The art here was the exploration of near silence, of absence.”   CrackCritic re Resonance

“Dillon’s “Quartet No. 4: The Infinite Sphere is a work of jewel-like craftsmanship, in arch form, consisting of seven movements alternating between rounds and rondos. The tonal language is not dissonant, but not conservative either; Dillon seems to reach across several centuries for inspiration, somewhat like Benjamin Britten. The centerpiece — a “circular fugue” — had each new voice enter at a faster tempo than the previous, and indeed, Dillon’s control of time was a conspicuously imaginative element throughout. It is a fine addition to the repertoire, rendered with great skill by its dedicatees.”  — Robert Battey, Washington Post

“A superb composer… Dillon’s music is eminently approachable, intensely passionate and filled with surprises.”  — Stringendo Magazine

” …music that is often profound without being pretentious, sometimes light-hearted but never ‘lite’, humorous without being arch, and immensely appealing but never frivolous.”  MusicWeb International

“from beginning to end this is a fine, impassioned, attractive work…one that deserves a place in the violin sonata repertoire.”  MusicWeb International, re Sonata: Motion

“Putting this CD into my player, I was quickly convinced that I was listening to music that is well constructed, inventive, and unfailingly interesting. ”   Fanfare re Insects and Paper Airplanes>

“The musical gestures of Lawrence Dillon are uniquely his, and his scores skillfully weave a multiplicity of unusual ideas together in a way that will reward anyone interested in the art music of our era. He is original in the best sense of the word.”  Fanfare

“I have listened to this recording more often than any other this month, and I am not yet full.”  American Record Guide, re Insects and Paper Airplanes

“One high point that deserves mention is a slow section in I for string harmonics—a breathtaking, perhaps mournful passage whose beauty will turn heads.”  American Record Guide, re String Quartet No. 4: The Infinite Sphere

“In this quartet the composer shows uncanny creativity in the use of fugal structures, both traditional and more broadly conceived, and he doesn’t shy away from the humorous.”  American Record Guide, re String Quartet No. 2: Flight

“The audience loved Haydn’s wonderful “Joke” quartet, but it got even better: most of us had not heard Lawrence Dillon’s “Infinite Sphere” (his String Quartet No. 4, commissioned by the Daedalus) and were completely dazzled by the brilliant writing and virtuosic performance.”   Russian River Chamber Music

“A prominent teacher of young composers, Lawrence Dillon turns out to be quite a composer himself.”  Dallas Morning News

Sly and mysterious.”  Gramophone

“Each score is an arresting and appealing creation, full of fanciful and lyrical flourishes within traditional forms that are brightly tweaked.”  Gramophone, re ‘Insects and Paper Airplanes’

“…Six colourful and vibrantly crafted fugues…”  Gramophone, re ‘String Quartet No. 2: Flight’

“The thing that impressed us to no end is his degree of craftsmanship, coupled with a fantastic imagination. He seems to have an unending font of ideas…”  — David Finckel, cellist, Emerson String Quartet

“Dillon has a huge repertoire of technical tools on his belt, and he uses them liberally but always sensitively and intelligently.”  — Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare Magazine

“I like music that makes me think. Dillon’s does just that.”  — Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare Magazine

“This is a terrific work. In fact, it is so good it made me weep. And Dillon, with his vivid imagination and his ear for vocal and instrumental color, seems to be a terrific composer. I’m paying attention now.”  — Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare Magazine re Appendage

“If you have any interest in contemporary American chamber music, you really should hear Appendage and Other Stories.”  — Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare Magazine

“The evening’s freshest encounter was Dillon’s First Symphony, written brilliantly for its string choirs and demonstrating that every modern symphony doesn’t require steroidal brass and percussion forces. Dillon argues his case principally through strings and woodwinds, flavoring the mix with a pair of horns. Propulsive energy defines the first and third movements, which possessed exceptional structural rigor and harmonic richness. Even more remarkable was the second movement a slow, ghostly sequence with slightly freakish double-bass solos and small, plaintive exclamations from the oboe. The entire symphony testifies to the composer’s compelling, innate soulfulness.”  — Andrew Adler, Louisville Courier-Journal

“It is obvious on this recording of chamber music by Lawrence Dillon that smoke and mirror musical tricks and “classical” music pretension have been abandoned in favor of a pure mode of expression that layers lines so gracefully they seem to play themselves with an energetic fervor. Dillon’s painterly style carefully colors phrases with glissandi and subtle accents underneath an intricate tapestry of sound.”  — Amanda MacBlane, Sound Tracks, New Music Box

“Lawrence Dillon’s Flute Concerto…is truly an outstanding workthe piece successfully maintained an extremely coherent and powerful dramatic flow…Dillon’s unique compositional voice clearly makes itself heard. [A] passionate and often unpredictable work.”  Charlotte Observer

Rich, full-blooded, stylistically uninhibited[the] performances are knockouts…[Dillon’s] fast music is great, [but] it’s the slow movements which really get to me: that of the bassoon quintet is really haunting, and the nocturne that ends the string quartet is similar – it makes me hang on every note, and hate to see it go.”  — Robert Carl, Fanfare Magazine

None of the music on this disc is dry or academic; the CD repays frequent listening. These works ought to be given repeated live performances. It would be wonderful if all new music received such meticulous care as these three quartets and the soloists invest in Dillon’s scores. It would be wonderful, too, if all new music were as worthy of such attention as these three compositions!”  — William Thomas Walker, CVNC

“C’è ad esempio il blog di Lawrence Dillon, un compositore che racconta il suo lavoro passo dopo passo: e nel farlo, fornisce molti spunti di riflessione sulla musica in generale. In questi giorni, Dillon sta scrivendo la sua Seconda Sinfonia..”  Il blog della Domenica

This CD is long overdue. It collects some of the best, most recent chamber music by Lawrence Dillon…The music is terrificEvery note demands the listener’s complete attentionIt’s still difficult to believe that [Jests and Tenderness] was Dillon’s first crack at a string quartet – so complete is its mastery of form.”  — Ken Keuffel, Winston-Salem Journal

“I listened with great delight, especially to the almost unlawfully lush D-minor-ish music at the center.”  — Alex Ross [re String Quartet No. 3: Air]

“Despite a tension, chromaticism and angularity that seem entirely 20th-century, the music takes great pains to draw the audience in.”  — Chamber Music America [re Furies and Muses]

“His music is often in a tense but generally tonal idiom, notable both for its rhythmic propulsiveness and a strong lyrical element. Many of his works exhibit a formal clarity and smooth continuity that reflect his interest in establishing connections with Classical heritage.”  — New Music Wiki

“Clear and honest music, with no attempt to impress or mystify the listener… [a] common-sense setting of the English language, which is rare in any style.”  — Kyle Gann [re Appendage]

“He is not a taker of sides, nor a polemicist. He is both moderate and moderator, impatient with battles of musical aesthetics in which one side of the coin fights the other for dominance. He reserves his anger for the intolerant, and seeks balance.”  — Kyle Gann [re an infinite number of curves]

Turbulent atonal patterns are devilishly revealed to stem from the angry opening theme of Mozart’s G Minor Symphony.”  — Chamber Music America [re Amadeus ex machina]

“Lawrence Dillon, an increasingly formidable composer”  — Ken Keuffel, Winston-Salem Journal

“Most welcome was Amadeus Ex Machina by Lawrence Dillon…add this to his growing list of challenging yet audience-friendly compositions. Bold slashing figures are combined with high string harmonics and unusual woodwind sounds that twist and swerve. The audience’s response was enthusiastic as Dillon was called and recalled to the stage by conductor Kennedy. In conversations with several of the players in a dorm elevator, I learned that they had really enjoyed learning the work.”  — William Thomas Walker, Classical Voice of North Carolina

“Dillon’s piece emerges as a most intriguing collision of tradition and innovation. In it, a tune that might appear in most any 19th-century opera comes in and out of focus as it weaves its way through a thicket of gritty effects.”  — Ken Keuffel, Winston-Salem Journal

“the passionate music the small orchestra produced under Kennedy’s direction seemed strikingly original and not at all Mozartian. Mr. Dillon was in attendance to approve the performance and bask in enthusiastic applause.”  Charleston Post and Courier

“He is a dream to work with, and understands well the give and take between creator and re-creatorhe is one of our American treasures.”  — Sharon Robinson, Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio

“There was a lot to enjoy, not least the pulsating repetition of the rock bacchanale sections and the buzzing tremolos of the fervent fifth movement.”  — Charles T. Downey, ionarts [re String Quartet No. 4: The Infinite Sphere]