HOLMES-Head shot - Sweden“Captivating…the haunting and slightly disorienting sound disrupts and engages the open ear.” (Joeseph Woodard, Los Angeles Times, 2004)

“By far the most interesting and musically arresting work on the concert…Holmes’ use of microtones was the most creative and successful uses this author has heard…music to be really heard and deserving of reflection.” (Benjamin Boone, Society of Composers, INC., 2004)

“Jeffrey Holmes’ Ur was a break through premiere. With the ensemble surrounding the audience, each musician surrounded by similar set ups of gongs, toms, bass drums, flower pots, and cymbals, we listeners were bathed in swirling cascades of sound…it was magic.” (Nick Norton, New Classic LA, October 06, 2016)

“Holmes’ music engages in the idea of landscape and mysticism through his spectral technique. Through his choice of pitch and rhythmic textures, stunning colors emerge.” (The Talea Ensemble, March 11, 2016)

“Extremely sophisticated…an excellent example of exquisitely crafted sound…Occasus goes beyond what can be perceived from the printed page. The piece is about sound ringing and decaying in space, and about textures. I would highly recommend this piece to a sensitive and sophisticated ensemble that is up for a rewarding challenge.” (John Lane, Percussive Notes, May 2014)

“Drifting, ethereal” (Brett Campbell, San Francisco Classical Voice, 2011)

Nastrond, composed by Jeffrey Holmes for flute and guitar, explores its varying material in a most compelling way. The composition presents a beautiful exploration of multiple soundscapes, wherein each player has ample opportunity to showcase a full band of tone colors and individual virtuosity, and it also offers a true duo blend. Effects include flutter-tounging, microtones, Bartok pizzicato, and other percussive guitar effects.” (Flute Quarterly, November 2017)

“Holmes’ composition [Nastrond (III)], named for the Norse mythology, features contrasting sonic events. Its characteristics include dramatic increases in pitch and dynamic; descending passages, some including third tones; and long periods of stasis that suggest many shades of gray. The guitar sometimes imitates and sometimes creates tension through opposing musical gestures. Technically demanding and musically fascinating, Nastrond is a signature piece.” (Karen E. Moorman, Classical Voice of North Carolina, CVNC Online Arts Journal, November 10, 2013)

“With melodic profusion, the piece [Nastrond (I)] morphs through several timbral palettes. Monophonic passages for crotales and violin alternate with thumping low drums and heavy bowed attacks. The piece ends poetically, a long-held tone fading glacially into niente.” (Damjan Rakonjac, The Artificialist, March 06, 2014)

“Holmes craftily develops his melodic material into an exciting flourish…cascading lines emote an ethereal “waterfall-esque” feeling.” (Marcus D. Reddick, Percussive Notes, 2013)

“Jeffrey Holmes’ Fragments for soprano and piano challenges the typical role of voice and instrument. He treats the voice more as a chamber instrument than the usual declaimer of expression. The singer here is abstract and equal to the piano, given to melismatic chant (singing multiple notes on a single syllable) on a compilation of Latin phrases that focuses the listener on vocal timbre more than content.” (Russell Steinberg, “No Vocabulary for Music Today?”, June 02, 2014)

“Fragments (2010) by Jeffrey Holmes was next, from a Latin text compiled by the composer from a variety of historical sources. “Horumque visum contegas”, the first of four movements, began with a loud, dissonant piano crash that immediately introduced a strong sense of anxiety and menace. The voice entered with sustained and sorrowful tones that suggested a lament, and the piano joined in underneath, building the tension. The trading off between piano phrases and solo voice was especially effective in the small sonic confines of Monk Space so that when the two were heard together the sense of terror was doubled. The tempest continued in the second movement, “Fera pessima”, following the grim lines of the text: “Most evil beast… you, whom the old fierce Dragon are called… “ About midway through a quiet vocal solo added a subtle anxiety to the emotional mix before building back to a more forceful feeling of distress. The third movement, “Stella Maris”, began with a more subdued piano and a high vocal line that hinted at suspense and, ultimately, resignation. These emotions were artfully expressed and carefully balanced, especially at the lowest dynamic levels. A strong vocal line flashed above the roiling piano making a solid conclusion to this movement. “Qui Lux es et Dies” completed the piece with a long crescendo, the voice soaring and dominating with a potent sadness that bordered on despair. Soft piano notes followed, fading at the finish. Fragments is an unflinching look at the inner feelings of the disconsolate from a distant past, sharply drawn and artfully performed by Wiest and Lee.” (Paul Muller, Sequenza 21, April 02, 2018)

“The concert’s mood and the texture took on a much darker complex tone. The players returned from intermission to perform Tjur (Swedish for “bull”) a piece meant to evoke mythic figures battling giant bulls in a frigid interstellar environment. The pieces complicated structural vocabulary (according to the composer’s notes) is built upon, ‘non-octavating scales; symmetrical chord structures; several types of microtanalities; and a variety of manipulations of one rhythmic meta-tala’. It was too much for players. It was too much for the ears.” (Jim Farber, San Francisco Classical Voice, April 30, 2018)