Variations on a Summer Day Reviews

Boston Musical Intelligencer

“Stevens’s poems are intellectual and enigmatic and wouldn’t seem to me prime material for song settings. Meltzer’s style, though, suits the texts very well; he writes a kind of dissonant lyricism that seems a fine musical complement to Stevens. Meltzer’s scoring, using the same ensemble called on later in the program for a Ravel cycle, was very imaginative… the audience liked it and so did I, and I’d be interested in hearing it again.”

— Leslie Garber, The Boston Musical Intelligencer, September 2, 2012


Boston Globe

“[M]ezzo-soprano Quinn Middleman made a similarly persuasive case for Harold Meltzer’s ‘Variations on a Summer Day,’ a gleaming setting of texts from the Wallace Stevens poem of the same name.”

— Jeremy Eichler, The Boston Globe, July 25, 2016 | Read the full review here »


Boston Musical Intelligencer

“He uses music to mirror images in the music, conjuring astonishing gulls at the start…. There’s dramatic invocation… marvelous, soaring, restless a cappella melody…. ”

— Brian Schuth, The Boston Musical Intelligencer, July 25, 2016 | Read the full review here »



“Fulmer returned to the podium to conduct Harold Meltzer’s song cycle Variations on a Summer Day, settings of Wallace Stevens. The cycle has grown over time; I saw an earlier performance at Symphony Space that had, if recollection serves, around eight songs. It has since expanded to sixteen. Not only are the Variations longer, they have become more elaborate. There is a use of microtones in the winds that is quite attractive…. It is clear that Meltzer has lived with the poetry for a long time, and his settings of it are imaginative, ranging from terse utterances to attractively varied textures. Those who eschew the morning hour on Sundays at the Festival of Contemporary Music miss out.”

— Christian Carey, sequenza21, August 6, 2016