"[Kenneth Frazelle] is a mature composer with a broad cultural awareness. It seems to me that [he] has something quite fresh and original to say. He is obviously not a part of any particular stylistic juggernaut, be it downtown, uptown, East or West Coast. His work is seriously crafted and his incorporation of American vernacular music I find really very satisfying."
"I consider [Frazelle] an outstandingly gifted young composer. His work shows him to be a young artist of great sensitivity and genuine originality."
"The range of his invention and technical brilliance is apparently inexhaustible and is accompanied by a profound depth of song or feeling. The poise of that kind of forwarding can produce the highest sense of aesthetic completion."
Blue Ridge Airs II
"One of the best mixes of classical disciplines, useful dissonances, and an Americana atmosphere that I've ever heard. Everything is thought out and necessary. If the rest of Frazelle's music is as good as this more people need to hear it."
--American Record Guide
"The kind of piece that will make the audience cheer wildly at the end of the recital."
A Book of Days
"This music...was simply sublime, in the deepest sense of the word, a sublimity that one rarely experiences in concert. Indeed, I think the word “masterpiece” is not too strong for this work…It deserves to join the core repertoire of the chamber literature."
--Tom Moore, Classical Voice of North Carolina, March 21, 2013
Concerto for Chamber Orchestra
"...most importantly, a substantial world premiere, not just the usual token concert-opener.... The concerto is ultimately a complex concoction, a tangle of sometimes disarming tensions and releases in search of a cohesive whole. By its heroic yet also unsettled final movement, “Glare,” it is music desperately seeking closure. As such, it may be music for these fragile, hopeful times."
—Josef Woodard, Los Angeles Times, May 13, 2002
Elegy for String Orchestra
"...Serious, melancholy and touching.... This 10-minute work, written in memory of the late Jan DeGaetani, creates a neo-Bartokian aural picture of grief and loss."
—Daniel Cariaga, Los Angeles Times, Sept. 27, 1999
The Motion of Stone
"Plunging into the deeper waters of The Motion of Stone on seven poems of the American poet A.R. Ammons, the chorus was joined by the youthful Gardner Chamber Orchestra in a meditation on death, evanescence and the nature of nothingness. Frazelle uses accessible harmonic vocabulary and employs ostinati, little motifs that fragment further or merge together to make rhapsodic melodies, according to the demands of Ammons’s terse, reiterative text. The chorus chanted mantralike deconstructed words, poured out high-vaulted melody, whispered like the wind.... The final movement swelled to a great dance of enlightenment and bliss, causing the audience to rise from the new chairs in a standing ovation."
—Susan Larson, Boston Globe, Sept. 29, 1998
Quintet for Flute, Guitar and String Trio
"The music dances with earthy rhythms that have a fokloric quality, yet the layering of materials is complex and compositional. The musical textures are always lucid and the instrumentation is vivid."
—Anthony Tomassini, The New York Times, April 15, 1996
Sonata for Cello and Piano
"Kenneth Frazelle’s new Sonata, in its local premiere, could quickly become a repertory staple.... Ma and Kahane delivered it with clarity and affection. They stressed its lyrical sweetness without sentimentality, let the hushed mysteries of the central Adagio hover gracefully and projected barn-dance vigor in the rhythmically complex finale."
—John Henken, Los Angeles Times, April 7, 1990
Songs in the Rear View Mirror
"One of the finest American song cycles in recent or distant memory…the cycle of 10 songs riveted attention with its deeply evocative beauty and wealth of tonal inventiveness.”
--Jason Victor Serinus, San Francisco Classical Voice, May 4, 2011
Music for Still/Here
"In these songs, he evoked survivors' revelations, states of mind, moments of intensity, with a power and specificity only poetry can deliver."
—Bill T. Jones, Last Night on Earth
"...the perfect amalgamation of music, visual imagery and kinetics. Kenneth Frazelle's music for 'Still,' for the Lark String Quartet and staggering vocal soloist Odetta, with percussion by Bill Finizio, makes one think of the late Beethoven string quartets and their otherworldly perfection."
—Alan M. Kriegsman, The Washington Post
"...[Odetta] filters the selective text from the workshops that the composer Kenneth Frazelle has set into art songs with a spiritual resonance. Part Schubert, part Kurt Weill, Mr. Frazelle's songs have their
own lyric beauty...."
—Anna Kisselgoff, The New York Times
"...'Still' has resonantly vibrant music and lyrics by Kenneth Frazelle.... The enormous power of Still/Herecomes from Jones' remarkable concept and his melding with his collaborators."
—Clive Barnes, New York Post
"A real find, a spectacular major piece that needs to be heard by all lovers of art song."
--Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition