Press

Boston Classical Review on 'Blue Earth,' April 2014

The five movements of this sinfonia concertante, as Crockett calls it, evoke the flight of birds in migration and the sweeping winds of the sea.  Waves of dissonance, as if warning of future environmental disasters, break the spacious harmonic language at the conclusion.  The result is a thoughtful and moving pastoral for the planet.

On the whole, 'Blue Earth' teems with life.  The solo instruments - violin, cello, flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon - engage in jerky riffs and energetic runs with each other and the full ensemble.  Eventually, these individual conversations unify into a unified voice.  The stentorian brass section punctuated the orchestral shout chorus with stinging chords, the trumpets adding the finishing touches with expertly-placed high notes.  The loveliest moments came in the second movement.  Its play-on-words title, The Four Winds, featured solo oboe, flute, clarinet and bassoon floating soft phrases.  To answer, strings supplied a thin harmonic veil that covered the space like a sheen of rain.  - Aaron Keebaugh

Huffington Post reviews The Face

Donald Crockett’s new opera made its world premiere to an enthusiastic audience at a newly vibrant Japan America Theatre.  The Venice Beach locale in which the action takes place – during the filming of a documentary on a middle-aged poet’s life including the death of his wife and the intervention of a Faustian devil – is felt mostly through the kind of obsessive introspective reflection that is Venice’s truest calling card and only tangentially through its sandy shores.  The music, played by an accomplished pit band of great tonal beauty and precision, is a treasure chest of sounds, intimate effects and bursts of lyrical beauty which sometimes provide background and often participate in the musical dialogue; the book delivers poetry that travels along synapses of the English language directly into private recesses of the heart. The production has a great sense of physical proportion and uses its simple set of materials even on a sparse stage to very great effect. The device of integrating a huge video screen, essentially one entire wall of the living room type space in which the one-act opera takes place, serves as an ongoing trigger for setting the poet, and the audience, off into flights of fancy.  The four singers formed an admirable ensemble cast… (the subtitles) position onstage brought an exciting laser focus to the opera’s magic.

Fanfare magazine, July/August 2012

"The first bits of melody in Donald Crockett's Night Scenes are clearly heard as additive constructions...The process is easy to follow at first hearing, yet leads to an irregular and unpredictable meter...The composer's ability to make his thought processes lucid while keeping the listener off-kilter is a key reason for the success of his fine new disc of chamber works performed by the estimable Firebird Ensemble."

"To Airy Thinness Beat is a chamber concerto for viola and six instruments, performed here with vivid color and palpable verve by soloist Kate Vincent.  The colors Crockett conjures are a marvel, and far more varied than one might expect from such a small contingent."

"This disc is an ideal collaboration between ensemble and composer.  The commitment and energy are palpable, and the works are uniformly top-drawer."

Michael Cameron, Fanfare magazine

American Record Guide reviews Tracking Inland

Whistling in the Dark…is full of interesting and fresh sound combinations and extremely effective use (not over use!) of extended woodwind techniques. It is energetic and rather quirky, with a contrasting section of glacial, beautiful calm. Extant...is a work in two movements – the first a beautiful song for bassoon with gentle, crystalline accompaniment; the second a quick rhythmic interplay of rich chords with seemingly offhand bassoon comments. These are excellent performances, and the composer’s skill in making instruments work together as a team is very refreshing.’                American Record Guide

Press for Tracking Inland

‘…real freshness, energy, and a bracing clarity.  Not to mention a fine sense of humor…a mischievous sense of things rendered subtly topsy-turvy.  These qualities are most evident in Whistling in the Dark (1999) and Wet Ink (2009), itself a reworking for nine instruments of a violin/piano work written the year before. Extant (1997) is a two-movement chamber concerto for bassoon in all but name, whose sustained lyrical line for the instrument in its first movement is a wonder to hear.’   Fanfare Magazine