GILGAMESH, A CHAMBER OPERA Telling a Very Old Story, Tossing Pages to the Wind. “Melody hovers beneath the music at all times, breaking out in jewel-colored miniature episodes, particularly when the vibraphone chimes in silvery punctuation, or when the violin doubles a spoken voice.” By ANNE MIDGETTE, June 25, 2002, The New York Times

“WHO SAYS WORDS” (New World Records #80573-2) “Here’s a disc for fans of the cult pulp horror master H. P.Lovecraft. Composer Stephen Dickman’s specialty is to ‘set’ texts (poems, prayers, prose) by various authors into musical structures of his own design. In this case, the major work here is a performance of Lovecraft’s short story ‘The Music Of Eric Zann’ by baritone Thomas Bruckner (known for his work in Robert Ashley’s operas). … the mesmerizing rhythms of Bruckner’s narration begin to have a…disturbing effect. … it really starts to sound like Bruckner is losing his mind–the typical fate of all Lovecraft protagonists! Bizarre and ludicrous, perhaps, but pretty cool. The rest of the disc is great too, with one text-less piano piece of great beauty, as well as more singing by both Bruckner and soprano Elizabeth Farnum, of texts by Rumi, Milarepa, and Rabbi Nathan of Bratslav. These tracks feature either piano or violin accompaniment.” Aquarius Records New Arrivals #84 — February 1, 2000

TIBETAN DREAMS, AN OPERA IN THREE ACTS Music: Stephen Dickman/Libretto: Gary Glickman “Dickman poses a challenge to the various modes that have dominated operatic composition in recent years. Unlike the Serialists, he gives the listener discernible melodies; unlike the Traditionalists, he presents melodies in scales of his own devising; and unlike the Minimalists, he takes seriously the relation of words to music. Dickman’s is not only a thoroughly original approach but one that suggests a path for others to follow.” Herbert Lindenberger, THE HISTORY IN LITERATURE: VALUE, GENRE, INSTITUTION Colombia University Press 1990.

TIBETAN DREAMS’ “score, which is lovely and rich, is filled with logically recurring leitmotifs and lush string textures, qualities that put the work as close as can be to Germanic tradition.” “Where the work charts its own path is in its musical language. Mr. Dickman has found a way to make East meet West.” Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, 22 October 1990

Composers Recordings, Inc. CRI SD 498 Three Songs for Three Sopranos and Three Violins, THE SONG OF THE REED (1975) Words: Jelalaldin Rumi; MY LOVE MAKES ME LONELY (1976) Words: Stephen Dickman; LOVE, THE HIEROPHANT (1976) Words: Jelalaldin Rumi. Phyllis Bryn-Julson, Fabian Sydnor, and Nancy Young, sopranos; Benjamin Hudson, Joel Lester, and Carol Zeavin, violinists; conducted by Arthur Weisberg.

“The overall effect is of a hypnotic ritual and exotic folk music, yet quite modern. Fresh and individual. A carefully composed work that pays close attention to fine detail. Highly recommended.” D.S., Fanfare Magazine, May/June 1984.
“Dickman’s fascinating, Asia-inspired settings of one his own poems and two by the thirteenth-century Persian poet/philosopher, Jalaul-Din Rumi. Dickman’s love songs weave melodies that superbly point up the interrelationships among Western antiphonal techniques, Asian idioms, and what we in the eighties have come to call minimalism.” Karen Monson, Ovation Record Review, vol. 5, no. 12, January 1985.
“Fascinating even to repeated listenings. This is an impressive release that should be studied by serious singers.” Charles Shere, The Oakland Tribune, June 17, 1984.
“The first and third of the selections…a whirlwind of spinning melismas. The middle song, My Love Makes Me Lonely, is a setting of dovetailed voices and drone violin of one of the composer’s own poems, a haunting soliloquy that eloquently expresses not only the sadness but also the despair that so often accompanies a bout of unrequited love.” James Wierzbicki, Musical America, October 1984. “It is hypnotic listening. One finds the ear following dimensions of sound other than traditional harmonic relationships and this is fascinating.” Disc Discussion, November/December 1984.

New York Times Nov. 15, 1987

STEPHEN Dickman, whom critics have called a gifted American composer, has a theory about music.

”It’s like a food that’s out there for people to eat,” he said in an interview in his home in the Springs hamlet of East Hampton. ”And those who aren’t content with eating fast food all the time look for the richer food to be had, devour it and get something from it. If you eat better you feel better.”  Read full Review