Reviews

Selected Reviews

"Impressionism with an American accent."
(New York Times)

"Filters the lyrical spirit of Borodin and early Stravinsky through an elegantly patrician modern style."
(New Yorker)

"A rare wedding of flawless craft and flowing lyricism."
(Alex Ross, The Rest is Noise)

"The refined use of colour and variegated texture in Godfrey's work frequently bring Debussy and Ravel to mind (and sometimes Janacek and Sibelius), but whatever the apparent influences are, they have all been absorbed into a distinctive musical language that's as remarkable for its consistency as for its craftsmanship."
(Gramophone Magazine)

"Godfrey displays a love of melodic phrase that reminds [one] of Barber, or even Gershwin."
(Fanfare Magazine)

"Godfrey's music is distinctly attractive, melodically and harmonically rich, almost romantic in its broad outlines."
(American Record Guide)

"Motions into tonality not so much like flirting but more like true love."
(Village Voice)

"A composer who's not afraid to have words like "lush" and "lyrical" applied to his work."
(St. Louis Post Dispatch)

Psalm Dances for chorus and eight instrumentalists (2007):

"A serious and thoughtful work for chorus and chamber ensemble. Godfrey has an individual, even quirky voice that uses elements from jazz to atonality to encompass the Psalms' diverse emotions from joy to lament."
(Minneapolis Star Tribune)

"An interesting choral odyssey...intriguingly unconventional and imaginative."
(Saint Paul Pioneer Press)

Ricordanza-Speranza for string quartet and piano (2006):

"A powerhouse of a composition...some of the most ambitious chamber music we have heard from any living composer...a work of music both superb in its craft and extraordinarily moving in its emotional content."
(New Music Connoisseur)

Jest for orchestra (2005):

"A sly, busy work deftly using the resources of a full symphony orchestra...the piece features a recurring scheme of a musical idea being stated in a fairly four-square manner, only to have wildly different instrumental combinations echo the thought in a comic mode."
(Syracuse Post-Standard)

Symphony in Minor for orchestra (1999):

"Massive orchestration [is] not necessary to achieve myriad variations of color and texture, nowhere more cogently demonstrated than in Godfrey's Symphony in Minor. Listening to how the composer evoked a Sephardic soundscape through his gently wailing, shimmering woodwinds, and making sense out of three potentially disparate sections, one came away refreshed by his capable hand."
(Louisville Courier-Journal)

"It is a successful work, and it was enthusiastically received...After hearing so many composers try to put old wine in new bottles, it's a nice change when one of them actually gets away with it...Godfrey provided what he said he would: a lyric symphony based in minor keys."
(Saint Paul Pioneer Press)

Lightscape for orchestra (1997):

"A delightful composition, warmly embraced by musicians and audience."
(Austin American-Statesman)

"The work's shimmering, shifting textures were expertly constructed."
(Louisville Courier-Journal)

"Godfrey's quasi-impressionistic work clearly pleased the crowd, who applauded enthusiastically...a relaxed, dreamy journey...evoking instrumental timbres in colorful combinations...use of the percussion was expert and imaginative..."
(Syracuse Herald-Journal)

"...it was airy, almost weightless. With it's soft trills, changing colors and soft cascades of sound, it had an almost hypnotic effect."
(Buffalo News)

Two Scenes in Chiaroscuro for ten chamber players (1994):

"An evocative exercise in contrasts of instrumental color and formal design..."
(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

"An aural mosaic seemingly far larger, far broader than its actual size. Godfrey's is a music of colors, sometimes with an Eastern influence. He has translated light and dark into sounds and, in the process, shaped music with melody, yes, almost sweet melody..."
(Bloomington [Indiana] Sunday Herald-Times)

Romanza (1974, rev. 2001):

"Pure poetry."
(Strings Magazine)

"The loveliest ten minutes of new music this year."
(New Yorker)

String Quartet No. 3 (2000, rev. 2001):

"A compelling narrative sweep that belies its expansiveness."
(Gramophone Magazine)

String Quartet No. 2 (1993):

"It's a lovely work that does not wear its erudition on its sleeve, though it is limned with lyric intelligence. It is tonal, but that doesn't mean cliched or saccharine. Its ideas are deft and flow forward in three movements.
(Philadelphia Inquirer)

"Those of us who lament that Debussy and Ravel only lived to write one string quartet each may take new hope from Godfrey's tonal and rhythmic language, which combines lucidity with the frankly sensual."
(Portland [Maine] Press Herald)

Numina for six instruments (1991):

"The composer emphasizes unconventional bowing among strings and odd methods of sound production among the winds. The results are jocular in a dry, almost Gallic manner, and the performance afforded much pleasure."
(San Francisco Chronicle)

"Godfrey lets the lines explore and explode in whimsical patterns...It's an eccentric, playful composition that scatters notes and gathers them in new kaleidoscopic designs."
(New Paltz Times Herald-Record)

"It is at once whimsical and gentle, and filled with exuberant tension."
(Louisville Courier-Journal)

"A scherzo-like sextet [with] a charmingly serio-comic quality."
(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Mestengo for orchestra (1988):

"A highly charged explosion of musical energy, notable for the opportunity it provided the Louisville Orchestra's percussion players to shine in dazzling outbursts of kinetic virtuosity."
(Louisville Courier-Journal)

"Image-evoking and highly effective...full of elusive gesture, atmosphere and effect...restlessness and drive in an expansive ambience."
(Albuquerque Journal)

"Godfrey's writing for percussion shows enormous imagination."
(Denver Post)

"Congratulations, Mr. Godfrey. Your new music is refreshing."
(Honolulu Star-Bulletin)

Three Marian Eulogies for high voice, viola, piano (1987):

"Subtle works...as clear as stained glass cathedral windows."
(St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

"Godfrey's three settings were beautifully idiomatic and haunting; the music was incense-laden, redolent of medieval rite, and yet disarmingly modern in its clarity."
(Rochester [New York] Times Union)

Intermedio for string quartet (1986):

"Rich in textures and techniques. It moves from a plaintive, almost strident opening, through lyrical moments, to end in a powerful outburst of sounds, and retains an emotionally intense level of communication throughout."
(Music Connoisseur)

"Expertly crafted, accessible but not derivative, and generally appealing."
(Sonneck Society for American Music)

Music for Marimba and Vibraphone solo or duo (1981):

"The single-mindedness of this material keeps the music highly focused and utterly convincing...a tightly written work that must be marked as a major addition to the literature for these two percussion instruments."
(American Music)

"Make no mistake about it, this is well-crafted music. Godfrey's composition needs no effects or gimmicks to make it interesting. It stands on its own merits..."
(Percussive Arts Society)

Trio for clarinet, viola and horn (1976):

"[A] bright, witty trio which never bored, but charged forward with a sprightliness that sometimes recalled Stravinsky, Milhaud, and the Paris of the 20s."
(Hyde Park Herald, Chicago)

"A crowd pleaser...I could somehow hear fragments of Stravinsky's "Pulcinella" underneath. Its buoyant rhythms and high registers in horn and clarinet created a joyful mood."
(Ithaca Times)

String Quartet No. 1 (1974):

"A string quartet of exceptional beauty."
(New Records)