Tom Purdom likes Vespers even more the second time around, in the Broad Street Review. Giving well-deserved raves to all the musicians for a performance that “actually exceeded” the premiere, he says, “the real basis of its success was the quality of Smith’s work. You can listen to first-class pieces more than once because they evoke deep feelings and present you with music so varied and complex that you hear new things every time you listen to them.”
He describes “a deeply spiritual quality from beginning to end,” saying that “variety and complexity” carry the piece with imagination, marveling, again, at the genius of the musicians to pull it off.
Having written, most of my life, simple music for amateur choirs, it’s an irony to have complexity singled out. In any case, I believe in writing for the musicians, and I’m delighted to no end that Vespers is such a great match for the superlative forces of Piffaro and The Crossing.