Reviews

(regarding the anthem Author of faith, eternal Word)
“This expansive hymn-anthem marries a Charles Wesley text with a newly-composed tune. …The music is largely diatonic with strong voice-leading and Helvey’s characteristically winning melodic charm.
—review appearing in The Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians, April 2015; Jason Overall, reviewer

(regarding Three Teasdale Madrigals as performed by the St. Louis Chamber Chorus, who commissioned the madrigals)
“The [Three Teasdale Madrigals’] positive sentiments were beautifully set in melodious style and sounded as grateful to the voice as to the ear; these should enter the repertory.
—review appearing in The St. Louis (Missouri) Post-Dispatch, 29 September 2006; Sarah Bryan Miller, Classical Music Critic

(regarding the anthem O gracious Light)
“. . . approachable and easily singable by choirs with limited resources and rehearsal time.  In Howard Helvey’s O gracious Light all the voices lie comfortably in the middle of their ranges and will never sound strained in this unaccompanied piece. The harmonies are characterized by gentle, added-note chords above a firm tonal bass.”
—review appearing in Church Music Quarterly, June 2013; James L. Montgomery, reviewer

(regarding the anthem See, amid the winter’s snow)
See, amid the winter’s snow is at the same time both a skillful composition and a practical solution for church musicians searching for a beautiful, yet challenging selection for their ensembles. Not limited to church choirs, this four-minute piece would be a welcome addition to any college or professional ensemble’s holiday repertoire.”
—review appearing in The Choral Journal, August 2005; William McConnell, reviewer

(regarding the anthem [arr.] O come, divine Messiah!)
“The words are suitable for an Advent service, or at a carol service linked to a prophecy of the coming of Christ.  With straightforward vocal lines and a sparkling organ accompaniment, choirs will enjoy this lively setting.”
—review appearing in Church Music Quarterly, December 2011

(regarding the motet O sacrum convivium!)
“Without any accidentals or key changes, Helvey creates harmonies that push beyond the confines of traditional chord progressions.  Gentle dissonances color the piece, which maintains a slow and peaceful mood.”
—review appearing in CrossAccent: Journal of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, March 2013; Lara West, reviewer

(regarding the piano solo collection and CD of Hymns from Around the World)
“His bold invention, sense of mood and color, and finesse are evident throughout. These are mature works…”
—review appearing in The Hymn: A Journal of Congregational Song, October 2002; Curt Oliver, reviewer

(regarding the anthem Sweetest of sweets)
“This is elegant poetry and elegant music to match, the harmonic vocabulary challenging enough to delight without provoking despair among the singers.”
—review appearing in The Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians, March 2007; Alan Lewis, Ph.D, reviewer

(regarding the anthem There is no rose)
“He’s one of the hottest choral composers in America.”
—review appearing in The Cincinnati Enquirer, 1 December 2006; Christian Miller (conductor), commentator

(regarding the anthem Whatever be the love)
“…all [stanzas are] expressed eloquently, closing with an invocation of divine ‘symphonies of joy’ that outlive death. Helvey’s setting mirrors the text effectively.”
—review appearing in The Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians, March 2007; Alan Lewis, Ph.D, reviewer

(regarding the anthem Whatever be the love)
“… At times tender and at times stylish, at times discordant and at times sweet, this is a likeable setting in a lightweight manner, as are the words by Mary Louise Bringle.”
—review appearing in The Organ, August 2007

(regarding the motet O lux beatissima)
O lux beatissima is an extraordinary work, recalling influences of Howells and Vaughan Williams with an astonishing economy of means.”
—program notes for Chicago a cappella; Jonathan M. Miller, commentator
(Used with permission.)

(regarding the Chicago a cappella recording of the motet O lux beatissima)
“Chicago a cappella’s new Christmas album saves the best for last. The arresting strains of Howard Helvey’s O lux beatissima are beautiful enough to rise out of whatever background this album is set against. Its slow cadences are newly moving on every listen, the harmonies lush and universally appealing.”
—review appearing www.RARB.org, 6 January 2009; Rebecca Christie, reviewer

(regarding the Chicago a cappella recording of the motet O lux beatissima)
“Howard Helvey’s O lux beatissima…is a timely reminder that there’s always notable new music being written.”
—review appearing Pasa Tempos; CD Reviews, 6 January 2009; Craig Smith, reviewer

(regarding the anthem Spirit of mercy, truth and love)
“…not different for the sake of novelty, but that understated elegant difference that makes an impact through simplicity, beauty, and gracefulness. The text is wonderful and the tune sounds as if it sprang to life fully formed. Helvey takes these raw materials and forms them into a wonderful anthem.”
—review appearing Creator Magazine, 2001; Vern Sanders, reviewer

(regarding the anthem Awake, Arise!)
“Helvey’s Awake, Arise! aspires to greatness. It is an ambitious hymn anthem on Howard Helvey’s [own] HANNAFORD HALL tune, setting Christopher Smart’s quirky, delicious Easter poem. Helvey’s deft technique takes the hymn anthem to a new place, far beyond the usual ‘what can we do with this stanza?’ form.”
—review appearing in The Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians, January 2003; The Rev’d John L. Hooker, D.M.A., reviewer

(regarding the anthem [arr.] What wondrous love is this)
“…ultimately won my heart. Helvey has given us a definitive setting of this splendid folk hymn, with a beautifully idiomatic piano part.”
—review appearing in The Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians, March 1997

(regarding the anthem [arr.] We enter here this holy place)
“We have seen Helvey’s work as a magnificent arranger of choral music, hymn tunes and original tunes, making use of beautiful piano accompaniments, and also using other various instrumental combinations, resulting in magical settings. In this anthem he has given us an example of writing his own text, an exquisite communion text, which he has paired in an SATB and piano arrangement with the well-known favorite tune from The Sacred Harp of 1835, PROSPECT. This one is a sure bet!”
—review appearing in The Hymn: A Journal of Congregational Song, April 2001

(regarding the piano duet collection Shared Spirit)
“Helvey is a WONDERFUL arranger, and I recommend this without hesitation. …Buy it right away!”
—review appearing in Sacred Music News and Review, June/July 2000; Rick Deasley, reviewer

(regarding the anthem [arr.] Go, tell it on the mountain)
“Using a bluesy jazz piano background, this traditional spiritual is cast in a new style. …fun and certain to be of interest to youth choirs, jazz choirs, and even adults.”
—review appearing in The Diapason, October 1994; James McCray, reviewer