Historical Reviews (U.S.)

Smithsonian, December 1994, "A composer whose computer music has a magical twist". [In Silicon Valley Breakdown, Jaffe] imagined a huge orchestra of plucked instruments, superguitars and harpsichords of every imaginable size: tiny sounds barely audible, huge tonal blobs that sound...like "a plucked Golden Gate Bridge," the music swooping here and there, dropping to Earth for a moment of hilarious honky-tonk almost-harpsichord, then taking off again on a star trail.

Newsweek, Aug. 2, 1982, "Breaking Sound Barriers." Silicon Valley Breakdown sounds like a high-tech hootenanny. It begins with a banjo-like E, speeds through some crazily fast picking, soars into a tinkling stratosphere and shoots with a dramatic glissandos down into earthshaking chords--the sort of sound that you'd get if you plucked the cables of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Computer Music Journal, Winter 1996, "XXIst Century Mandolin." Ellis Island Sonata is a virtuosic piece, both in the amazing performance ability demonstrated by Jaffe, and also in his compositional ability to weave a panoply of musical influences together into a compelling work. Silicon Valley Breakdown stands as one of the landmarks of computer music. [The CD "XXIst Century Mandolin" is] a wonderful collection of music by an innovative and thoughtful composer.

Audio Magazine, July 1997. "Classical Recordings." The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is wild stuff indeed. Its avant composition, unique solo instrument, and unusual orchestral backing route a procession of musical sounds through your speakers that they have probably never before reproduced. Sound: A+, Performance: A.

Keyboard Magazine, April, 1994. Jaffe offers American Minatures, in which samples of mandolin and voice are ingeniously manipulated on NeXT computer, and Silicon Valley Breakdown, whose synthesized plucked string sounds gleefully obliterate idiomatic preconceptions.

San Jose Mercury News, Jan. 13, 1984, "Funky electronic music that's calculated to please." David Jaffe's Silicon Valley Breakdown is puckish, funky, and at times jazzy-improvisatory; he has great fun with sudden shifts of the reference pitch, making his tunes wow giggly up and down the scale.

American Record Guide, April 1997. In ['The Statue of Zeus' from The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World], the interaction between the piano and other instruments, particularly the unpitched percussion, is truly exhilarating.

20th Century Music, February 1997, "Wonder" Full Music. Jaffe is a consummate artist.

Array (Computer Music Association), Spring 1997, "CD Reviews." [The CD of "The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World"] is superbly recorded and executed by the players and represents a major achievement by the composer... David Jaffe has a very distinctive and original musical style, and there can be no doubt as to the clarity and technical mastery with which he expresses his ideas.

The New York Times, May 24, 1981, "A Summer Camp Where Musicians Work Hard at Playing." David Jaffe, composer-in-residence [at the Composer's Forum of the East], prepared Dybbuk... The audience responded with wild clapping and cheering.

San Francisco Chronicle, California, July 29, 1991, "Cabrillo Music Festival Opens With a Real Bang." There's considerable hell-raising in Jaffe's [Whoop For Your Life!]. The audience gobbled it up.

Oakland Tribune, California, April 27, 1983, "New material gives 'Mostly Modern' a maverick touch" The audience loved it [Would You Just As Soon Sing As Make That Noise!?].

San Jose Mercury News, California, July 24, 1993, "Conducting electricity." Composer-conductor-performer David Jaffe was able to make the computer music follow him. In [Terra Non Firma], cello lines weaving up and down the register echoed the wavy earth movement... Meanwhile, the electronic orchestra produced the trills of "flutes," a "sax" solo and a sassy muted jazz "trumpet." [The result] was mesmerizing.

San Jose Mercury News, California, July 21, 1990, "The muse electronic." David Jaffe's Impossible Animals was a rare (and successful) venture into humor, with the computer supplying an ultra-high chorus of yips and yaps accompanying Jaffe's own "straight-man" violin playing. The piece was uncommonly sophisticated in the live-electronic interplay as well as in the "voices."

Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minnesota, September 24, 1988, "'Words in Motion' opens Composers Forum's study of new repertoire." In clever fasion, and using his own text, Jaffe represents the four seasons from a "bird's-eye" view, combining bird calls with elaborate vocal counterpoint [in Bird Seasons].

St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch, Minnesota, Sept. 25, 1988, "Forum takes on the task of wedding word and sound." David Jaffe, in his Bird Seasons...handled his four-voice texture expertly, and I heard echoes of the 16th century madrigal style. For its wit, the second section, "Circle Dance for Summer," was the winner; for poignancy, the final one, "Autumn Meditation," in which previously heard materials were ingeniously recalled.

San Francisco Chronicle, California, Jan. 12, 1987, "Chanticleer Chorus Keeps a Tradition Alive." David Jaffe, in The Fishing Trip, combined live voices and tape in a most satisfying and stimulating fashion.