Adamo manages to convey the pain of loss and the outrage of circumstance without lapsing into the maudlin or hyper-tragic, a very tricky balancing act when working with a subject its composer clearly feels so personally. The most moving part of the work is its final movement, in which the hospice experience is recalled. Here Adamo captures the nobility of quiet heroism...this work will provide solace to all who have experienced the loss of loved ones to disease.
ARLO McKINNON, Opera News
1st May 2010
Late Victorians is cast in Adamo's most expressive and elegiac style, almost Coplandesque in the sense of American lyric melancoly.
In the second movement, Adamo's artful writing of "Crumbling is not an instant's act" is about as skillful a musical setting of a difficult Dickinson stanza as one will ever hear. Indeed, throughout the music is unfailingly sensitive in the Barber and Copland tradition. While deeply felt and emotional, Late Victorians is not overwrought and avoids the melodramatic, rage-at-an-uncaring-society tropes, the understatement culminating in a stoic acceptance and noble expression that is quite affectionate.
Mark Adamo is one of our most gifted and successful young composers and, in its varied way, this programme provides a worthy sampler of vocal and orchestral music from a composer best known for his operas.
Lawrence A. Johnson, Gramophone
1st April 2010
The total output of the music and words, however, is very effective: this piece captures the feeling of empty ambiguity analogous to a scenario such as "I had a friend, and he died. I didn't find out about it until 18 months later...." This is a condition not imposed by the disease, but arises as an external circumstance of it. This has affected countless survivors of AIDS victims whether gay or straight, and Adamo has found the right voice for the situation in Late Victorians.
All Music Guide
Uncle Dave Lewis, dilettantemusic.com
20th January 2010