REVIEWS & ARTICLES
August 19, 2016
The 30-year-old Runestad is becoming a new household word among the choral cognoscenti in this country. He embraces all choral idioms, from experimental (see his “Nyon, Nyon”) to seriously challenging 21st century works, the two on this program among them.
Most arresting was a multi-layered piece with accompaniment, Reflections, a commissioned premiere based on the poetry of Thoreau. Following the text, the music similarly reflected life’s yin and yang — a reflection of how Runestad writes.Oregon Artswatch
October 11, 2015
…there is clearly a progression in text and music from extreme violence to a kind of peaceful and well-earned acceptance that is not at all sentimental. Light seems to enter the music in Runestad’s beautifully written — and imaginatively orchestrated — final pages and, for the first time, we hear solo voices singing a gentle upward-climbing melody, suggesting that humanity has finally prevailed and might even survive. Turner’s haunting opening words are repeated at the end: “And I keep telling myself that if I walk far enough or long enough, someday I’ll come out the other side.” [Dreams of the Fallen]Star Tribune
February 16, 2016[Daughters of the Bloody Duke] combined humor with blood-and-guts–a kind of spin on the classic movie musical “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” taken to the nth degree; this time, it’s 40 daughters for 40 sons, with the women’s goal of killing all the men. Screams from all over the theatre punctuated the action, adding to the delight of the audience. The attractive cast…found the smart score congenial to perform. Broadway World (New York)
October 11, 2015
It is hard to pigeonhole Runestad’s style. At times it is tonal and Romantic, infused with lyrical passages. Other sections suggest John Adams in the driving, rhythmic scherzos. Runestad’s sense of pace and balance makes The Hope of Loving a work that bears repeated hearings.Miami Herald
June 7, 2012
Other famous pieces in the genre have viewed war from the top down, celebrating battlefield victories, military leaders and patriotic fervor. But this one — titled Dreams of the Fallen — will try to convey the experience from the bottom up, exploring the impact of war on individual soldiers.New York Times
January 4, 2014
Sleep, Little Baby, Sleep, by Jake Runestad featured beautifully shaped and soothing lines that made this lullaby a gem.Northwest Reverb (Oregon)
May 18, 2013
Three contemporary American composers put the company’s versatility to a test that it passes with flying colors: …especially, the beautiful piece that young Runestad (b. 1986) composed to accompany Psalm 121, a work that uniquely captures Seraphic Fire’s style and spirit.
December 9, 2012
The choir gave the world premieres of three works it commissioned specifically for its Christmas programs by the young American composer Jake Runestad. Sleep, Little Baby, Sleep was a lullaby with a classic American folk-song quality. Fear Not, Dear Friend was a quietly stirring and uplifting overcoming of fear, and Nada Te Turbe was a work that blended the contrapuntal style of older choral works with contemporary harmonies and turns of phrase, all tying together the present with the past.Miami Herald/South Florida Classical Review
December 22, 2013
Jake Runestad’s Nada te Turbe combines staggered melodies passed between sections of the choir with accompaniment that evokes gently rolling waves. The 27-year-old Runestad has already received commissions from ensembles around the country. It’s worth keeping an eye on this young composer as his career unfolds in the coming years.The Sun Break (Seattle)
May 15, 2013
The young American composer Jake Runestad’s I Will Lift Mine Eyes, featured on the new Seraphic Fire disc, closed the program proper. It’s a highly accomplished work whose sweet melody and pretty harmonies make it an instant favorite for choirs, and the singers gave it an expert performance.Palm Beach Arts Paper (Florida)
November 19, 2014
The score threads its way elegantly through the psychological twists and turns of the chaos of war and the soul-numbing confusion that afflicts the veteran as he or she confronts the challenge of creating normalcy in a life so terribly disrupted by the experience of combat.
October 11, 2015
Runestad’s lyrical style, his use of the motif and the progression of his texts, from an opening question about the importance of accepting love in one’s life to the final affirmation that love is something people absolutely require, make the cantata something of a spiritual journey.