On October 5, 2016 a review of three of my choral works was published in the German magazine Chorzeit - das Vokalmagazin. The review, written by Marie Schilp, the editor of the magazine, included "Be Near" (text by Jo-Hannah Reynolds), "The Garden of Dreams" (text by Madison Cawein) and "Tears" (text by Walt Whitman), and it was quite a favorable review. The English translation of the review is as follows:
"Due to technically mature music notation software, high-power home computers and cheap maintenance of online shops, publishing your own works on the internet is no longer a pipe dream. American composer Timothy Lee Miller (*1961), writing for chamber and jazz ensemble, orchestra and choir, chose this path for himself, distributing his works via his own homepage timothymillermusic.com. This decision makes sense in the light of his biography: in addition to his studies in composition and conducting, Miller worked in sales, marketing and PR.
"His vocal music focuses on the lyrics. An important feature is the splitting into phrases that begin polyphonically and end in a homophonic chord. He doesn’t hurry through the lines and allows the text to sink in. This is a pleasant experience for the listeners, who don’t have the text sheet in front of them, because the set breathing spaces between the phrases grant the music time to unfold. Miller’s musical language moves like waves between consonant and dissonant, loud and hushed, polyphonic and homophonic. Due to their calm and unhurried nature, the works are particularly suited for a quiet break in the middle of a concert or as the final piece after a rousing encore.
"The works presented here as examples of Miller’s vocal repertoire carry different moods. “The Garden of Dreams” (2009) contains many harmonies with second and seventh intervals, yet the piece is very soothing and light, since well-placed consonances prevent the ear from growing tired of the friction. “Tears” (2010) wraps up the poem of the same name by Walt Whitman (1819 – 1892) in a dense sound network of split voices that conveys the despair and pain of the narrator very well. In “Be Near” (2015), we hear the jazz composer Miller: the piece alludes to the tonal language of contemporary jazz vocal ensembles, but a few phrases leave that path and surprise the audience with more traditional harmonies and melody lines.
"Notes and lyrics are well-placed and easy to read; furthermore, the pieces include piano accompaniment for rehearsal purposes, containing all voices. All in all, the works’ level of difficulty isn’t unreasonably high. However, a clear pronunciation and a clean intonation are vital in order to do Miller’s pieces justice. Confident singers with a good sense of pitch are necessary to master the tricky dissonances. Whoever succeeds is rewarded with interesting and appealing sounds."
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