Press Quotes

“The first public performance of Maneval’s trio was one of the big moments in my decades of concert-going.  Maneval has produced a piece that should appeal to anybody who values the Brahms.  If you like the Brahms, you will like the Maneval because it exudes the same poetry and passion.  But you will also like it because it’s really a different piece of music, with its own approach to the possibilities of the piano, violin and horn combination.”
Tom Purdom, Broad Street Review
on Trio for Piano, Violin and French Horn


“A fine composer, possessed of a distinctive voice that expresses thoughtful and beautifully crafted music.”
Peter Burwasser, Philadelphia CityPaper


“Maneval’s violin sonata inhabits the center of the grand tradition of the form. Its opening movement seduces its audience with soaring flights for the violin and dark, beautiful piano melodies. In the finale, the violin rotates between passion and sweetness, with the piano adding support and commentary.”
Tom Purdom, Broad Street Review
on Sonata No. 2 for Violin and Piano


“…Maneval’s cycle of 30 instrumental poems, scored for nothing more exotic than a solo piano, remains stubbornly and vividly in mind… Maneval… has been able to imbue each of his pieces, averaging about a minute in length, a musical character and sound-world of its own, while maintaining continuity and cohesion in a language of discreetly extended tonality that is at once challenging and attractive to the ear.”
Bernard Jacobson, The Philadelphia Independent
on Migrations – A Cycle of Poems for Piano


“Thanks to its clarity of thought and communicative urgency, the piece is utterly absorbing, and in today’s more temperate musical climate, felt like a bracing gust of winter wind after a steamy summer.”
David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer
on the orchestral Poem of Triumph and Redemption


“It is a handsome piece…continually searching, the music has the intensity of a Bach Partita.  It is well made, substantial and its movement across the depths and range of the instrument is not self-conscious.  I like it very much, and so did the enthusiastic audience.”
Lesley Valdes, Philadelphia Inquirer
on Sonata for Solo Cello


“This is a full-scale work, ambitious in scope, that takes the sonata’s dimensions as a spiritual journey of development quite seriously… the persuasive account by Taylor and Chen made for an accessible – indeed moving – first hearing… I especially admired the veiled, wintry gloom of the nocturne-like second movement, as well as the sudden pulses of rhythm charged with Bartokian intensity.”
Thomas May, Washington Post
on Sonata for Violin and Piano


“There is something about the use of voice with a small instrumental ensemble, as well as the urgent melody in the work’s opening and closing sections, that reminded this listener of the Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 by Heitor Villa-Lobos.  Maneval’s approach to orchestration… is astute and effective; there are sections of the piece that allow for considerable solo as well as fine ensemble work.”
Peter Dobrin, Philadelphia Inquirer
on darling!because my blood can sing


“It was a delight Friday night to hear another side of Maneval’s talents – that of a composer of a very appealing string quartet.  Its music is delightfully eccentric and catchy… The whole work is completed by a jazzily syncopated fourth movement marked Allegro assai that bounds along to its nifty climax with panache.”
Michael Caruso, Chestnut Hill Local
on String Quartet No. 2


“His Second Piano Trio obviously stems from the same tradition that gave us the piano trios of Schubert, Brahms and Shostakovich, but it delivers a style all its own— starker and rougher than any of its predecessors, and more turbulent than anything Schubert and Brahms ever produced.  Maneval’s trio… opens with a blast and packs plenty of emotion and musical variety into a modest amount of time. The trio includes some striking piano effects and a haunting cello melody, but it’s primarily a contribution to the great tradition of passionate, emotional piano trios.”
Tom Purdom, Broad Street Review


“His new work… is reflective, even poetic, constructed with Maneval’s characteristic elegance and precision. It served as a contemplative respite from a generally raucous evening of music making.”
Peter Burwasser, Broad Street Review
on Lines From a Poem – Ten Bagatelles for Piano


“Philip Maneval’s Quartet for English Horn and Strings spoke clearly of the composer’s zest for dark sonorities and long, intricately joined melodic lines.  Maneval started each instrument into the maze with the impetus of a clearly sung line.  As they passed, joined and confronted each other, the instruments created rich harmonics and brief dialogues.  His sense of form brought all the details to a deft close, movement by movement.”
Daniel Webster, Philadelphia Inquirer


“Philip Maneval’s excellent Parables employs a six-piece wind and string ensemble with a clarity, urgency and division of texture and clarity, but in a language reminiscent of early Arnold Schoenberg, though with none of that composer’s weighty severity.”
David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer


“It’s so well constructed and voiced, it does, indeed, made a strong and effective first impression…  The music alternates in mood through changes in tempo and texture that are structured organically and with an ongoing sense of developing tension and resolution, much in the manner of the poetry that inspired it. Its rhythmic vitality holds your attention…”
Michael Caruso, Chestnut Hill Local
on String Quartet No. 3 – Love Calls Us to the Things of This World


“Maneval’s music lives in the same worlds with Ravel’s and Barber’s, different though they may be.  His Quartet references other music: There is a breath of Viennese lilt in the fourth movement, and the ironic playfulness of the second movement is a healthy critique of Prokofiev.  But this is not a postmodern melange.  The work glows with energy, floats on complicated but meaningful rhythmic pulses, and frequently bursts into song using brief themes…  The music’s energy and expressive force earned an ovation from the near-capacity crowd.”
Daniel Webster, Philadelphia Inquirer
on String Quartet No. 2


“Philip Maneval’s fine new work for solo piano, Migrations – A Cycle of Poems for Piano, uses music and even the words in the title to convey allusions and contrasts that cohere with remarkable, if understated, strength.  There is a sense, in both the small, individual poems and the overall structure, of circular language, underlying the composer’s central metaphor of the cyclical nature of life.  On a purely decorative level, this is pretty music that resembles a glistening charm bracelet.  The inner workings of these jewels is a surprising blend of simple gestures and complex elements.  The harmonic language is challenging, often polytonal, but, almost paradoxically, lyrical and flowing.  This may be due to Maneval’s rhythmic freedom, imparting a songlike quality… Overall, this is music whose power is expressed as a whole distillation of its parts…”
Peter Burwasser, Philadelphia City Paper 


“The first movement of Maneval’s piano sonata opens with… that same playfulness. It’s an inventive movement, with quick changes of mood, that keeps moving in unexpected directions.  Maneval’s other movements are just as inventive. His final rondo ends the sonata with a traditional burst of liveliness, but Maneval puts his own mark on the form.  In many rondo movements, the main theme sounds like a variation on a hunting call. Maneval opts for a staccato theme with plenty of forward rush— a dash through an American rapids instead of a gallop through a European hunting preserve.”
Tom Purdom, Broad Street Review
on Connections—Sonata in the Classical Style (Piano Sonata No. 4)