|select press reviews|
American Women Composers and Their Choral Music
UVM's Vermont Quarterly article (new page)
Pulse article by Kyle Gann (pdf)
The Albany Times-Union feature (pdf) An acoustic "Through the Looking Glass" world based on sound that the performer is not making.
[Her pieces] have an underlying sense of magic and mystery. Unlike some of her more purely intellectual contemporaries, Leach is not merely messing around with the properties of sound; she's exploring (and connecting with) the aesthetic and even spiritual power of sound.
Either en masse or in various antiphonal clusters, Ms. Leach's slow-paced and soothing music seemed intent on filling this high-ceilinged space with different densities of sound. Textures were made to thicken, but pleasantly.
To her credit, Leach offers a spiritual recharge without the banalities of the new mysticism.
The result is serene and ethereal-sounding music that seems to
float . . . the overall sound is reminiscent of Ligeti works like "Lux
Aeterna" and the music of Arvo Pärt, with echoes of Renaissance
polychoral composers like Tallis and Gabrieli. This is well-crafted, serious
music that deserves to be listened to seriously and carefully. Those who
do so will be well rewarded.
A striking attribute of Leach's music is the ability to develop
complexity out of simplicity, music that reveals an extreme density -
the mind of the listener is suddenly caught in a vortex of devastating
Drawing clear inspiration from the medieval choral traditions
that grew out of the resonant cathedrals of Europe, Mary Jane Leach arranges
for voice pieces that sound both holy and exotic.
Celestial Fires and Ariadne's Lament are
the two solo CDs of hers: two gems settled into the outline of the "post
minimalism" of the nineties.
Smooth choral and multiple-instrument continuums accumulate into
radiant sonorities pulsing with overtones and a delicately tuned personality.
In "Bruckstuck" the New York Treble Singers stretch a Bruckner
passage into otherworldy undulations as soft as velvet. . . Leach's choral
writing is effective enough to find fans outside new music circles.
A Leach concert is nothing less than transforming to the listener, who, if fortunate, may find him or herself surrounded on all sides by a choir working in sublime sonic gradations and ghost tones — those overtones manufactured by the human ear when confronted with certain tonal dissonances.
Leach has created a sonic world of tonal beauty, a visionary quest for inner peace.
"People say that Leach's music is hard to listen
to. Well, Beethoven's music is hard to listen to - at first."
Mary Jane Leach's recent CD, "Celestial Fires,"
is an arrangement of six pieces of music that flow together to create
an iridescent lingering sense of suspended time. The music is continuous,
yet it breathes very deeply . . . creating a multidimensional cathedral-like
environment that sur rounds the listener in swirling sound.
"4BC" contained a rich quality. One was drawn into the piece and en tranced
. . . [the] music struck a meditative chord that touched the human psyche,
causing one to ponder the eclectic energies that fuel the life cycle.
"Green Mountain Madrigal" and "Mountain Echoes" effectively
echoed tones and overtones that popped back and forth around and around.
Leach's music is like a retreat. Each piece gives one a sense of being;
a sense of the universal.
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