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Musical World

Ronald Caltabiano

  • Composer


Caltabiano's "music has the fluid movement of Persichetti, the combativeness
of Carter, the puckish sonic combinations of Davies."
-- American Record Guide

Ronald Caltabiano's music has achieved "a remarkable synthesis of modernism and romanticism, of violence and lyricism, of integrity and accessibility."
-- Music and Musicians (London)

  "...a striking and original work in 10 movements, each in a different character... The extraordinary thing was the coherence and continuity between movements achieved despite their individuality... Caltabiano produces strong, evocative gestures by way of musical ideas... This work calls out for repetition..."
-- San Francisco Chronicle
Concerto for Saxophone
  "...Caltabiano builds an elaborate structure (a single movement) on a cantus firmus and uses a language of amenable expressionism. There is a great combustion of motives and frequent whiplash climaxes...but the clarity of discourse remains unruffled."
-- The [London] Sunday Times
Concerto for Six Players
  "Solo instrumental lines emerged from a discreetly textured web of sound...[creating a] sense of pulse on which the music rode into moments of wonderful serenity..."
-- The [Great Britain] Independent
  "The kaleidoscopic colours of its central Decisivo movement and the dazzling scale-figures and massive chords of its Declamando finale revealed some of the harpsichord's most unsuspected timbral landscapes."
-- South China Morning Post
Lines from Poetry
  "It is an exciting and beautiful composition -- a moving work that is highly recommended."
-- American String Teacher
Lyric Duo
  "The one-movement work has firm shape and definition, alternating between insistent repeated-note material and lyrical wide-ranging melodies. The instruments are both fully exploited and dialogue textures are refreshingly inventive."
-- New York Times
  "...a particularly enjoyable work...Caltabiano ... create[s] a modern musical language for chorus, singable yet not predictable...The third piece inhabited the most distinctive harmonic world, resonant but not triadic, with haunting seconds and tritones."
-- San Francisco Classical Voice
  "an attractive, vigorous work rooted in the populist tradition of Aaron Copland...It has an outdoorsy sound, with its expansive strings and pungent clashes of brass and percussion."
-- Cincinnati Post
  "...a riveting creation...deftly orchestrated, characterized by grandiose, arching brass lines, virtuoso percussion, lush string melodies and fluttering winds."
-- Musical America
Preludes, Fanfares, and Toccatas
  "It's one 19-minute span that cross-cuts snarling cacophony, rhythmic athleticism, and a lyricism rare in contemporary music."
-- The Dallas Morning News
  "In its color and rhythmic impetus, the work -- which was beautifully played by the orchestra -- demonstrated anew that [this] composer is one of this country's best."
-- The [Baltimore] Sun
Quilt Panels
  "From a simple set of builds to something grand and sad. What was most impressive was the young composer's control of his materials, his ability to suggest nostalgia without becoming sentimental and his ability to write idiomatically..."
-- The [Baltimore] Sun
  "...a skillfully woven musical tapestry which belies the undoubted challenges which confront the 16 horn players... Although Caltabiano's work is only five minutes in duration, it stands out as the highlight of the recording."
-- Melbourne Herald-Sun
Sonata for Solo Cello
  "...a serious work that challenges both performer and audience; it deserves frequent programming."
-- MLA Notes
String Quartet No. 1
  "It is a highly expressive, imaginatively structured piece of music..."
-- The Washington Post

"[It] works within the fiercer confines of modernist dissonance, but in a way that suggests an opening up of that idiom to more engaging kinds of communication."
-- The New York Times
String Quartet No. 2
  "This vivid three-movement work is a pitched battle between lurching thicket of dissonance and rhythms...and an open, expressive (almost tender) lyrical element first sounded by the viola and later taken up by the cello. Caltabiano has a gifted ear for expressionistic sound, and the Emerson [Quartet's] performance was gripping."
-- The [Baltimore] Sun