“…Fantasy, written for the unusual combination of flute…seems to have inspired Cory to produce a work that, although light in mood, hints at some depth of communication in the interplay of the instruments—and has an attractively open, airy sound throughout, with Cory showing particular skill in percussion writing that complements the comparatively light sound of flute and guitar without covering up or overwhelming the instruments.”
Infodad.com, November 2015
“An invitation to rediscover the compositions of Eleanor Cory arises from the consideration of the beauty of her musical interlockings; she emphasizes the essential role of the instruments used in the composition, she builds for each of them the best language possible. In this definitive collection from Naxos, you can hear the flutes which vibrate in sudden changes of register, the strings which savor the wonderful confusion of the Austrian serialists of the early twentieth century and a piano that reorganizes the path that modal jazz has made from Gershwin to Mays.”
Ettore Garzia Percorsi Musicali, October 2015
“Present day American composers are travelling down very divergent roads, Eleanor Cory belonging to those embracing the concept of avant garde modernity. Born in New Jersey in 1943, and naming Charles Wuorinen and Meyer Kupferman among her mentors, she uses as her building blocks the type of atonality dating back to the experimental era of the Second Viennese School. Yet in the Third Quartet I feel she is unhappy with those doctrines, and is also seeking new ways of expressivety that retains links with audiences who find modernism a bumpy road down which to travel. It opens in naked atonality, but soon introduces those repeated rhythmic patterns of Minimalists which find audience approval. Much the same happens in the finale, while in the second movement she introduces a most attractive melody. I checked out the work over several hearings and really got hooked on it, much in the same way that I love Steve Reich. I found the disjointed modernisms of the First Violin Sonata, completed three years ago, less to my taste, the two instruments going their own way in a series of capsulated ideas, the finale a jerky and quirky movement. Celebration is described by the composer as ‘a celebration of pianistic virtuosity’. It is certainly that, and also a godchild of Webern, its four short movements contrasting in pace and feeling, the technical challenges swept aside by the soloist, Blair McMillen. Fantasy, from 1991, is scored for flute, guitar and percussion, its nine minutes exploring sounds in the form of a mosaic. The disc does not make clear if these are live performances, but they come from various venues and over the period 2009–2014. The very differing nature of the music would disguise changes in ambience, but the sound is always good, and I will take at face value the highly committed performances in world premiere recordings.”
David's Review Corner, October 2015
“Ms Cory's instrumental writing is distinctly rooted in acousical specificity; her ideas are not abstract, but make convincing instrumental sense, engaging the listener in truly intimate chamber music...The music leaves an impression of fearless involvement with harmonic beauty...In the ("Chasing Time") Presto the players are constantly getting in each other's way with comical imitations...This is high clowning far beyond virtuosity...Reflections (in "Mirrors") are inner musings, with moods ranging from wandering looseness...to terse, fired up outbreaks...I cannot imagine a passive listener.”
Nancy Garniez in New Music Connoisseur, End of Year 2009 Vol. 17, No. 2
"Eleanor Cory's reputation as a non-conformist force in the American contemporary music scene is evident in Chasing Time...Each piece explores the relationship between instruments, or, philosophically, the relationship of self to others or self to self...(in the title piece, Chasing Time) prolonged sections of rich, lyrical low-register clarinet writing....(in Conversation for Violin, Cello, and Piano) solo interchanges allow a sense of intimacy...(in String Quartet No. 2, Pensivo) sections of sonorous homorhythms are mildly reminiscent of Arvo Part's Frates...(in Giacoso) its chaotic yet lyrical nature recalls Alban Berg's Lyric Suite..."the compositions are atonal yet lyrically accessible, and they resist any of the myriad stylistic labels applied to contemporary music"
Morgan Rich, in the International Alliance for Women in Music Journal, Vol. 15, No 1, 2009
ELEANOR CORY, OF MERE BEING: Visions, Play Within a Play, Of Mere Being, Interviews, Bouquet; CRI CD 885
"All of this was written between 1996 and 1999. Eleanor Cory (b. 1943) is beginning to be recognized as a major force in contemporary music. This is a little surprising, since she doesn't conform to any popular “ism” but writes music of serious intent in a sometimes dissonant idiom, including everything from references to jazz to serial elements.
The pieces included here are for varied ensembles. Visions includes flute, clarinet, horn, and string trio. It is a strong piece in three parts. Of Mere Being sets a Wallace Stevens poem for chorus and brass quintet, used in an atmospheric manner. Play Within a Play is a piano solo where a set of consonant variations is enclosed in more dissonant surroundings. Interviews is a conversation between viola and piano, while Bouquet includes two members of each orchestral section in a three-part work including jazz references and a good deal of variety. Cory's willingness to use contrasting styles may stem from her work with Meyer Kupferman. At any rate, she writes interesting music, and this well-played selection is welcome."
Moore, "American Record Guide," May/June, 2002
"At its best, in Visions for Six Players (1998), Eleanor Cory's music offers what might be considered a consonant version of the instrumental dramas that make up most of Elliott Carter's second period. Cory assigns each of her six players characteristic thematic material that is related but slightly different for each instrument, which she then combines into a contrapuntal dialog of considerable beauty. Constructed in three movements, slow/fast/slow-slow-fast, and scored for three winds with three strings, the piece is 18 minutes of sublime chamber music. The slightly later Bouquet for Eight Players (1999) is more diffuse and incorporates jazz rhythms and phrasing, as does the solo piano work Play Within a Play.... Play Within a Play, structurally an introduction, theme and variations, and coda, really does come across as a very well made jazz solo of the pastel sort that would impress but not disturb in any piano bar in the country.
Interviews, for viola and piano, is a stronger work, being in part an investigation of how those two very different instruments are played....
Performances are expert, and the recorded sound is wonderfully clear."
John Story, "Fanfare," May/June, 2002
ELEANOR CORY,IMAGES: Pas de Quatre, Canyons, Ehre, Hemispheres, Soundspells Productions CD 116
"Cory has studied with Kupferman, as well as with Charles Wuorinen and Chou Wen-chung. She bears many of the qualities of her mentors in thoughtful, expert, uncompromising craft...Influences as disparate as Ives and Berg...lend the latter (Canyons) (1993) decidedly urban and urbane overtones."
Philip George, "Twentieth Century Music," December, 1996
"...a CD rich in warmth and lyrical beauty. Ms Cory characterizes herself as a composer interested in the elements of contrast, no matter what the sources of her inspiration. But her contrasts are never rude or obvious...the overall character of the piece (Pas de Quatre) remains gentle, even ephemeral... In Canyons Cory sensed an iconic connection with the NYC skyline, purportedly to compare natural beauty with human complexity. But this subtly scored piece for chamber orchestra also offers some almost imperceptible changes in texture and dynamics." Barry Cohen,
"The Music Connoisseur," Vol. 4, #4
AMERICAN MASTERS: ELLEN TAAFFE ZWILICH/ELEANOR CORY:
Designs, Apertures, Profiles, CRI CD 621
"Cory's music is consistently stimulating."
James H. North, "Fanfare," May/June, 1993"Written in 1986, Cory's Profiles is a trio for clarinet, cello and piano that emphasizes the lower registers and mysterious qualities of these instruments. Apertures, from 1984, is a virtuoso and at times jazzy piano solo. Designs, a piano trio cast in a single variation-like movement that counterposes mournful or lyrical solos on each instrument with thickets of contrapuntal elaboration."
Lehman, "American Record Guide," July/August, 1993
"Cory often sounds pointillistic, slow and brooding. Both composers have distinct musical voices and something of real value to communicate in their art."
Richard Halley, "On the Air," October, 1993
AMERICAN COMPOSERS' ALLIANCE RECORDING AWARD: Lennon, Biscardi, Cory, Wuorinen, CRI RECORDS SD 459
"Eleanor Cory's trio (Designs) is definitely more cerebral, with its stark contrasts, minimal immediate repetition of sound or gesture, and variegated textures. She does unusual things with the standard piano-trio instrumentation..."
Paul Rapoport, "Fanfare," March/April 1983
"The sections of Eleanor Cory's Designs are... clearly articulated, and each of them is a set of mini-variations...the score of the work looks fiendishly difficult, involving chord progressions which become increasingly complex."
Michael Meckna, "American Record Guide," December, 1982
EDWARD COHEN/ELEANOR CORY: Profiles, Apertures, CRI SD 542
"Profiles presents the trio of clarinet, cello, and piano is a series of varying frofies - come mysterious, some direct; some abstract, some more concrete and ostinato based -utilizing a wide range of the instrumental possibilities abailable to this ensemble...Cory employs a much more chromatic language (than Cohen) with sharper, more intes=nse gestures...Apertures for solo piano is also concerned with musics of different intensities, the "apertures of the title being the quiet, cintemplative sections ina piece of otherwise intense, driving textures. The realtionship of the apertures to the more active music can be heard as slow motion before or after the real-time activity."
Bruce M. Creditor, "Sonneck Society Bulletin," Vol. XVI, No. 1, Spring, 1990
“The performances are all first-rate. Eleanor Cory shows herself a composer of expressive smarts, dash and lyrical modernism, indeed a first-rank post-high modernist that has mastered a divergent harmonic-melodic way that covers much ground with a naturally assimilative yet individual approach that sounds effortless though of course a good deal of work has gone into these pieces.”
Grego Applegate Edwards — Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, November 2015
String Quartet No. 3 (2009)
“Some even reveled in unabashed melody. Eleanor Cory, for one, opens her String Quartet No. 3 (2009) with a shapely, melancholy viola line that each of the other instruments expand on before the full ensemble adopts a galloping rhythm that would not have been out of place in middle-period Beethoven. That said, straightforward Romanticism was not the point of Ms. Cory's piece. Starker, more plangent expression was, and parts of the work called to mind quartets by Janacek and Bartok.”
Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, July 26, 2010
Mood Swing (2008)
"The evening opened with the world premiere of veteran New York composer Eleanor Cory's quintet "Mood Swing"....for anyone who knows the Moreheads, it was clear that the manic activity of the music, what Cory called "musical roller coasters," was an affectionate portrait of this leading couple of Chicago's contemporary music scene."
Andrew Patner, Chicago Sun Times, March 31, 2008
"Eleanor Cory's "Mood Swing" unfolded in a language both atonal and accessibly dramatic."
Michael Cameron, Chicago Tribune, March 31, 2008
CHASING TIME (2000)
"Eleanor Cory's Chasing Times is another work that brings up relationships. In this study - or perhaps an apter word would be "anti-study" - of the rigors of time in music, she has produced a complex composition in which seemingly uncooperative partners are actually working very much in tandem with each other, not an easy idea to pull off. 'It's an idea that lends itself to virtuosic performance' [MG] and both partners surely demonstrated that. Beyond the bracing notes themselves one cannot help but see a comment on our lives in the piece. We all seem to be in a kind of isolation, each of us moving at our own pace, that we lose sight of that master of our existence - time. Because time is of the essence in musical partnership, it takes a musical person to come to grips with that idea."
BLC with Mark Greenfest, New Music Connoisseur, Vol. 14, No. 2, Fall/Winter 2006
"Eleanor Cory's 'Mirrors' (2006) benefited from a three-movement structure that guaranteed greater contrast and variety than in the other works. Its reflective central movement, "Refractions," offered a striking, melancholy violin solo, played by Linda Quan."
Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, May 17, 2006
"Canyons was awarded Honorable Mention in the 1992 New Jersey Composer's Guild Competition...This is a mood-setting piece, with various activities of nature presented by instruments...."
Nancy Plum, "Town Topics," Princeton, N,J., May 6, 1992
"Inspired by a trip to Bryce Canyon, Canyons is an atmospheric piece, with beautiful sonorities and incomplete melodies floating in a cloud of quiet activity...The whole comes off neither as a grandiose landscape nor as a dark melodrama of the soul, but something more complex: a balance of repose and unease...it remains a strong, highly individual statement, with a distinctly American sound. Traces of Aaron Copland, Charles Ives, and Elliott Carter influences are evident throughout the piece."
Carlton Wilkinson, "The Times", Princeton, N.J., May 5, 1992
"Eleanor Cory's Apertures is a knotty ambitious... ultimately compelling work for solo piano..."
Tim Page, "The New York Times," 1991
"Cory's work began with a series of sonic accumulations whizzing by the audience's heads. Pure tones punctuated accretions of harmony and disharmony. At the corner of almost every measure lurked a surprise: a crescendo undercut or a section suddenly in or out of time. The tonal feelings of Tapestry ranged from reticence to apprehensiveness, with occasional recourse to angst and relief.."
Kevin Post, "Press," Glassboro, N.J.
"Eleanor Cory's Octagons was a well crafted work that's abstruse... with moments of great beauty. The work is meant to convey geometric shapes both linearly and harmonically. Along with a fine use of winds and very effective use of the guitar, the piece set forth a straightforward employment of non-tonal vocabulary without being stilted."
Steven Block, "Market Square,"Pittsburgh, Pa., March 24, 1982
SUITE A LA BRECQUE
"Eleanor Cory"s Suite a la Brecque looked the crudest of the four, yet in performance it revealed a most acute ear for sonority; the widely spaced chords and jagged lines of the very slow third movement picked sounds from the instruments which I had never heard before, as if the composer had just lighted upon a unique combinations of overtones at the top of the keyboard, drawn from the vast range of possibilities created by the notes struck in the bass register."
Nicholas Kenyon, "The New Yorker," December 3,1979
TRIO FOR FLUTE, OBOE, AND PIANO
"Eleanor Cory's Trio, in which flute alternated with piccolo, and oboe with English horn, had a good deal of dramatic movement and sense of instrumental relationships. It was able to hold the attention quite easily,"
Raymond Erickson, "The New York Times," June 12, 1977
WAKING for Soprano and Ten Instruments
"Eleanor Cory's Waking - a world premiere - was more ambitious. Its setting of a poem by Muriel Rukeyser for soprano and 10 players was often as vivid as the text, whether dreamily, as at the beginning, or pungently when reflecting a city's image. The vocal line, with its big leaps, kept plunging and getting lost in the instrumental sonorities, which made one think, odd though it may seem, of the Liebestod from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. Otherwise, Miss Cory....is a composer with a fine poetic sensibility."
Raymond Ericson, "The New York Times," Sunday, December 21, 1975
"Eleanor Cory's Waking also received a convincing performance by soprano Janet Steele and the ten instrumentalists. Cory's twenty-minute setting of Muriel Rukeyser's "This Morning" is a gutsy, violent piece which emphasized dense sonorities and constantly changing moods. The slow unfolding of the opening harmony and its reoccurrence toward the end were among the work's most impressive moments."
B.S. "High Fidelity/Musical America, 1979