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Published Reviews

A Day in the Life

violin concerto

A Day in the Life follows a day in the life of Robert Blincoe, employed as a child in early 19th century mills, with one minute representing an hour.  A Day in the Life emerges as a piece of powerful contrasts, from the mechanistic rhythms of the machines to folk-song melody to the spiky tension of Robert’s reactions.

Ron Simpson, The Reviews Hub 2019

A Peterloo Parade

A Peterloo Parade is a jaunty and rather strident orchestral piece – representing the morning of the peaceful protest, not the later massacre – using chants and popular song somewhat in the manner of Charles Ives. "Rule Britannia" constantly reappears in various forms as the orchestra gives full value to the boisterous energy of Malone’s 10-minute celebration.

Ron Simpson, The Reviews Hub 2019

Mysterious 44

A clever and brave production in terms of both content and composition...The electronic sounds work well, creating environments of strange wonderment, peril, desperation and exultation...a clever, intelligent and thought-provoking work, splendidly executed.

Live-Manchester May 2014


Eighteen Minutes

An impressive and entirely satisfying work...The composer brilliantly succeeds in varying his textures and in having the music move forward.  I find this brilliantly realised piece entirely successfully...should be avidly taken up by imaginative players looking for a worthy work for their instrument.

Hubert Colet, MusicWeb International 2008


A sobering and appropriate tribute to modern history's irrevocable turning-point...neither mawkish nor exploitative, but a genuine attempt to create a meaningful art work for a moment that cannot be forgotten.

Rick Jones, Words and Music Jan 2014


A relentless, pulsating suite of pain...Fanatically, obsessively constructed...the work has the feel of a witness examining all of the pieces over and over again in the search for reason. Unsettling but very effective.

Barnaby Rayfield, Fanfare Jan 2015


Draws you in immediately and holds your attention. It has real energy.

The Strad 2003



Effective, simple, and well constructed with its sudden jolts into silence.

Barnaby Rayfield, Fanfare Jan 2015


Angels and Fireflies

Angels and Fireflies, a response to the Shanksville 9/11 crash, is a heartfelt elegy, with episodes of intense anger and lyrical pathos, in a chromatic, emotionally arresting idiom.

Records International 2014

An atmospheric and often rather beautifully austere tone poem...this reflective work proves his is more than a pedantically mathematical sound artist.

Barnaby Rayfield, Fanfare Jan 2015


The Music of 9/11, Vl.1 CD

Métier MSVCD 92106

Kevin Malone deals with the horrors of 9/11 in stylistically varied music.  The result is emotionally gripping.

Eighteen Minutes so impressively conveys the visual impact of the event.  In Angels and Fireflies, Victoria Daniel and the Manchester Sinfonia under Richard Howarth offer a very coherent and musically striking performance, full of expression and musical beauty, with an excellent recording. Overall, a production that one can hardly escape emotionally.

Interpretation: ****  Sound Quality: ****  Repertoire: ****

Jürgen Scharwächter, Klassik 2014


This album contains only three of his seven works confronting the subject [of 9/11], and it makes me curious to hear more.  These are not some vainglorious, grandiose showy scores, but instead utterly personal, introverted creations...Sound is full and well balanced in keeping with the urgency of the writing, and Malone's notes are illuminating...There is something obsessive and exacting about his highly constructed attempts to confront 9/11.  It is not an easy listen...but I really admire Malone's intricate style and invention.

Barnaby Rayfield, Fanfare Jan 2015


[Eighteen Minutes] The New World Ensemble give an intense and finely played performance. [Requiem77] is a strangely mesmerising and disturbing piece that repays repeated listening. Christian Elliott tackles this difficult piece wonderfully. Angels and Fireflies receives an excellent performance. This disc is full of immense emotional content. These works are excellently played by all the artists concerned...informative booklet notes by the composer. This is not an easy listen but very worthwhile and at times emotional nevertheless.

The Classical Reviewer Feb 2014


A Clockwork Operetta

The music grabs onto our throats (or eyelids, as is most appropriate)...eclectic works from a talented composer who understands how to mix genres across the musical spectrum.

Steven Bergman, The Edge Feb 2014


Kevin Malone's A Clockwork Operetta, a set of angular cabaret songs commissioned to mark he fiftieth anniversary of the author's controversial novel A Clockwork certainly worth hearing.

Roger Thomas, International Record 2014


A tour de violently expressive as the text.

Rick Jones, Words and Music 2014


A highly imaginative undertaking...a daring, dynamically and ultimately quite evocative effort.

Jeff Berkwitz, Sci-Fi Magazine Apr 2014

[Of the NYC premiere:] The ultra-violent classic is making its American stage-debut tonight as part of the 8th annual PEN World Voices Festival...The sold-out performance will take place at the Standard Hotel (in the disturbingly-apt Meatpacking District) - the swanky venue and $75 ticket price.

New York Daily News Apr 2012


Soprano Emily Howard Cobley as Alex, backed by the Ebb Trio with Kronos Quartet violist Hank Dutt, blew the roof off.  She was - appropriately - raucous, raspy, spellbinding...Clockwork Operetta's star soprano stood still accepting accolades from the crowd more than an hour after the performance.

Jane Ciabattari for PEN World Voices NYC May 2012


Scored for only singer/actor, viola and piano, the piece generates an astonishing amount of variety...The recording supports the instrumentalists and vocalist perfectly.

Colin Clarke, Fanfare Jan 2015


A good introduction to this Manchester-based American composer's wide range.  It is allusive, socially engaged music...sophisticated, witty and sometimes deeply the listener much to think about.

Robert Keeley, Manchester Sounds 2014


A Clockwork Operetta and other works CD

Métier MSV 28543

What a CD for movie fans!  Besides new ambitious chamber music, included in the recording are five songs [sic] written by Anthony Burgess for the Kubrick film A Clockwork Orange, masterworks of cabaret. [A Clockwork Operetta] fiercely composed by Kevin Malone, recorded here for the first time - and which are crying out for the stage.

Die Deutsche Bühne Jan 2014


[Malone's] music is riotous, a whirligig of discombobulatory fun. The more one hears the music, the more one is fascinated by it. This is a fascinating disc, evidence of Kevin Malone's clear talent...a composer who has a clear vision of what he wants...a most impressive enterprise.

Colin Clarke, Fanfare Jan 2015


[The Radio Song] A complex, referential and 'problematized' discourse, with an irresistible rhythmic momentum and instrumental flair...The very end is ravishing, a loop of distant pre-recorded music fading to nothing, and inspired coup de theatre.

American Terpischore, for piano quartet, from 2008 (the ever-dependable Fidelio Trio with Cheryl Law on viola): the first of its two movement, 'Spin Alley', again displays well its gritty modernist credentials, especially in this tight and convincing performance.

The very fine Angels and Fireflies, for recorder and strings (2011), beautifully played by John Turner and the Manchester Sinfonia: This compact thirteen-minute scena unashamedly wears its heart on its sleeve, and makes an immediate and memorable effect.

A Clockwork Operetta [is] the most daring and most assured work...a real economy of note and gesture, and it grabs you by the proverbial throat and never lets go.  The use of the viola is surprising and effective, the various Beethoven allusions are deftly woven into the musical-dramatic fabric.

Robert Keeley, Manchester Sounds 2014


The Radio Song - Schubert and pop songs from the 1970s and 1990s conspire to overwhelm and delight in equal measure.  Emily Howard Cobley seems to have the style down to a tee, as well as having a voice that is magnificently pure (but not unsubstantial) in its higher reaches.

American Terpsichore [has] ambitions to confront a multiplicity of genres...This is an excellent performance from the Fidelio Trio in all respects, and the more one hears this music, the more one is fascinated by it.

Colin Clarke, Fanfare Jan 2015


American Terpsichore presents a confrontation between various popular styles of music and 'serious' idioms, in two engaging movements of musical satire and sophisticated humor. 

Records International 2014


Zuzu's Petals

Divine Art DDA25210

It is haunting music that reflects Frank Capra’s evocative film It’s A Wonderful Life. Despite the initially introverted nature of this music, there is a fundamental optimism that shines through as it progresses.

MusicWeb International, Sep 2020

Zuzu’s Petals by the American composer Kevin Malone, relates to a scene from the Jimmy Stewart movie, It’s A Wonderful Life. It tells us that yes, Manduell’s was indeed A Wonderful Life. 

Alan Cooper, British Music Society, Sep 2020

The Last Memory

This two CD-set is immensely worthwhile.  The performances are immaculate.  Rarely have I been so engaged in this repertoire...Lynsey Marsh's performance of Malone's discomforting The Last Memory is haunting.  Production values are first-rate.  In a world where music tuition and therapy are under siege from politico-economic philistinism, this is an important release. Go buy it!  (Mind Music CD, Divine Art, with Northern Chamber Orchestra)

Gramophone July 2017


The Last Memory for clarinet and digital delay may be somewhat more "modern" although the effect of the digital delay is in both cases fairly discreet and finely realized aiming at achieving some mysterious poetical effects or at suggesting some sort of counterpoint rather than using the medium as mere gimmick. (Roger Heaton, clarinet, Contemporary British Clarinet Music CD)

Hubert Colet, MusicWeb International 1995



The clarinet plays into a microphone which repeats each note 12 times, trapping the player and the audience in a series of inescapable loops.  The results are amazing, and Malone's writing incredibly clever as he exploits the delay to add a remarkable richness.  Though the piece might come out of his father's struggles [with Alzheimer's], the music is extraordinarily inventive and rather powerful. (Lynsey Marsh, clarinet, Mind Music CD)

Planet Hugill 2017


The multiple echo allows the soloist to superimpose himself, a well known effect of rock musicians.  It is used here wisely, because music plays with its own memory, which brings us back to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.  The interpretations are impeccable.  (Lynsey Marsh, clarinet) 

Dominique Lawalrée, Crescendo Magazine 2017


Aims, Goals, Targets and Objectives

A downsizing process via exhumed cadences from Haydn's String Quartet Op.74 No.3...the music succeeds in steering clear of pastiche or parody, although it possesses more than a pinch of mild musical humour...a brief quote from Beethoven rubbing shoulders with equally brief allusions to Haydn.  This eventually results in a deeply-felt, albeit none-too-serious homage to Haydn.

Hubert Colet, MusicWeb International 2008



Postcards from St Nick

Kevin Malone's Postcards from St Nick, for speaker and children, offered witty 20th-century glosses on the biography of this versatile divine.

The Independent London 1992


Suspicious Motives

The audience caught the boundless energy - Tippett meets minimalism - in Malone's Suspicious Motives.

The Independent London 1992


Fast Forward

Kevin Malone's Fast Forward is a short energetic piece full of fine string writing and imagination.

Hubert Colet, MusicWeb International 1999


Carnival at Wicken Bonhunt

[Southbank London premiere] ...the atmosphere of this piece reflects the manic desire of puritanical English townspeople to extract confessions of guilt through torture of suspected witches..a real duet for recorder and harpsichord, alleviating the problems of balance...exploited all its dramatic content to the full...I noticed a number of the audience physically shake off that piece as we left for the interval!

The Recorder Magazine 1990


"Landscapes" Concerto for Wind Quintet

A tightly disciplined work with its instrumental relationships carefully defined and devloped...the contrsating timbres were ingeniously had intriguing contrasts - running dissonances, lyrical phrases and constant changes in texture. 

Hampstead & Highgate Express 1986


Window on the World

Eclectic, imaginative and carefully constructed lines...refreshingly humorous. 

Los Angeles Times 1990


Saturday Soundtrack

...contains a large number of sonic effects, such as vocal moans and yelps, percussive sounds, and  the inflating and deflating of a balloon. This bizarre, rapidly sifting pastiche of sounds and musical fragments would rival anything from the avant-garde...One only has to make believe that an out-of-view TV set is tuned to a Road Runner flick. That's all it takes to make this fragmented jumble seem perfectly normal.

American Recorder 1999


Breaking the Rules (Blue Screen of Death)

Kevin Malone is one of the more challenging musical experimentalists who relishes interacting computers and other hi-tech machinery with synthesised noises and traditional classical music...[Breaking the Rules] performed at FACT, showing our resistance, but reliance on, technology, getting even by destroying his computer to the soothing sounds of nerd wandered around the futuristic living room...working to the strains of a Ludwig soundtrack, meticulously loaded up and then proceeded to deconstruct and wipe out the mother computer. The killer blow is delivered by a high powered drill.  We were able to see the action close-up thanks to a camera focussed on Malone's destructive hands and reflected on a big screen...thanks to the gleeful delight gained from seeing the death of a monster some of us love to hate.

Liverpool Daily Post 2004



Testimonies of one-time members of congregation mutate between choral music and catchy commercial jingles.  Chorus is a far cry from the inane sound-clash often heard in art shows.

Manchester Evening News 2004

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