Incidental music for

Angels in America, Part 1: Millennium Approaches

“Thomas Albert’s urgent, discordant, shimmering, contemporary score is like adding a necessary character.”

– The Cincinnati Enquirer 
“[the production] is most significantly enhanced by Thomas Albert’s musical score…”

– City Beat
“The music, acting almost like a cinematic score, pushes pace, strengthens emotional impact and adds a new dimension of jazzy, bebop, and almost a Kerouac feel to much of the material.”

– Everybody’s News

Devil’s Rain

“Set securely within the minimalist tradition of small, staccato figures repeated over and over again in varying permutations to produce varying harmonic and melodic relationships, ‘Devil’s Rain’ is a refreshing diversion that slides with surprising grace into pop/jazz idioms. It was performed with vitality and good humor.”

– Chestnut Hill Local
“…a winning construction in which repetitions passed in rapid waves, multiple rhythms intertwined and the bassoon supplied a sensually guttural bass ground.”

– The New York Times

The Devil’s Handyman

“Thomas Albert’s ‘The Devil’s Handyman’ trumped even Spike Jones in offering swing music that won’t swing, deconstructed jingles and devastating parodies of musical form.”

– The Washington Post
“Albert’s eclectic piece concluded the evening strongly. A series of movements in response to bizarre and humorous sculptures by artist H. C. Westermann (which were projected on a screen), its descriptive music was often hilarious, in the manner of P.D.Q. Bach, including musicians vying with each other for control of a piece in one movement. Here, finally, the balance between theater and music was achieved.”

– Pittsburgh Post Gazette
“‘The Devil’s Handyman’ by Thomas Albert provided humor in the musical finale… from absurd percussion excesses to a silly “let’s get everyone involved” arrangement of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Air on a G string.” Albert’s expressive range encompassed much more fun, including a brutal percussion ensemble number and ominous mists of sound.”

– Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


“…Thomas Albert’s ‘Illuminations,’ for sextet with tap dancer, was absolutely stunning. …Albert’s music shone with imagination and pure, shimmering beauty. It was illuminating in every sense of the word.” – The Washington Post

A Maze (with Grace)

“…intriguing to the ear…”

– The New York Times
“Thomas Albert’s 1975 ‘A Maze (With Grace)’ is a free-form collaboration, almost improv, in which the musicians find their own way toward actualization of the hymn, over piano chords echoing the hymn’s harmonics — a hazy impressionistic pastorale at mesmerizing pace.”

– Sequenza21
“…a mesmerizing improvisational piece…has to be heard to be believed. The tonal mist that the ‘Amazing Grace’ tune rises out of could not possibly be created within normal musical structures.”

– The Daily Yomiuri, Tokyo
“The Relâche Ensemble’s first full CD is like them: smooth, hip, understated.… Thomas Albert’s mid-’70s ‘A Maze (with Grace)’ and ‘Devil’s Rain’ mark the edge where minimalism seeped into its postgenre, but they transcend either style, the latter a bopping tune in 13/16 rhythm that you can’t stop humming. Rating: A PICK HIT.”

– Kyle Gann, The Village Voice
“Most spectacular of the works was ‘A Maze (With Grace)’ by Thomas Albert…. It used the old hymn tune ‘Amazing Grace’ as a cornerstone and employed an ensemble consisting of trumpet, flute, bassoons and accordion. The texture was highly involved with interweaving of melodies and harmonies like a tapestry…”

– The Baltimore Evening Sun

Night Music

“The night ended with a [Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble] commissioned work, Thomas Albert’s ‘Night Music.’ PNME, here minus only its singer, unveiled a composer’s dialogue with past music by Mozart, Sondheim and ragtime composer Joseph Lamb.… Lyrical nocturnes prepared the allusions, and then tender strains surrounded them. A movement devoted to Lamb’s “Ragtime Nightingale” used recorded birdsong and a funny playfulness of piccolo player Lindsey Goodman as a mischievous bird. Another, titled ‘Incubus,’ was more stormy than demonic. However, the greater part of the work abounded with unabashed tonal beauty. From the delicate ambiance of the nocturnes to the warm depiction of dawn in ‘Aurora,’ ‘Night Music’ was transporting and exquisite and was performed so.”

– Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“The disc contains two pieces, Kieren MacMillan’s ‘Drunken Moon’ and Thomas Albert’s “Night Music,” two excellent recent PNME commissions. Both are imaginative, accessible and wonderfully diverse works subject here to sensitive playing.

Albert’s ‘Night Music’ reflects on the musical tradition of quiet night music (hinting at Mozart), but can’t help but step out of the shadows. Three delicate nocturnes structure the work. But the intervening movements let the other aspects of night emerge, from nightmares to dreams to sounds of nature. Albert’s flowing writing connects it all in a splendor of sound and signifying that finds capable advocacy in PNME’s talented performers. A strong debut to say the least”

– Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Thirteen Ways

“…the work’s 28 minutes fly by like the proverbial bird that it describes. A more successful or seductive combination of words and music hasn’t been attempted since ‘Peter and the Wolf’ or Copland’s ‘Lincoln Portrait.’”

– Classic Today
“Evocative rather than concentrated, Albert’s music mirrors the sentiments of the poems in touching and gently humorous terms…”

– Grammophone
“…quite lyrical…”

– Richmond Times-Dispatch
“…thirteen movements that mirror and magnify the imagery of the text. His style is flexible. Several movements were decidedly Minimalist; others were either mildly thorny or neo-Romantic.”

– The New York Times
“The concert’s climax came at the end, with the endless variety of ‘Thirteen Ways’ by Thomas Albert… With one or the other of the players speaking Stevens’ gnomic lines by way of introduction, each section of Albert’s score offers music that is part illustration, part response. Each one conjures up a distinctive pictorial world within a few measures, ranging from pop ballad bordering on the sentimental to the whirling lines of a snowy landscape.”

– San Francisco Chronicle
“…in terms of instant audience enjoyment, ‘Thirteen Ways‘ was the highlight. Each of its segments has a different style and instrumentation, closely related to the corresponding segment of the cycle. The music is vivid, witty, instantly…communicative.”

– The Washington Post
“The music sparkles and pings, as full of piss and vinegar as the Engergizer bunny.”

– Northern Ohio Live
“The most effective work might have been ‘Thirteen Ways’ (1997), a kind of setting of the Wallace Stevens poem, ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird’… [the music] varied considerably in mood, texture and style, ranging from the iterative, minimalist evocation of the ‘whirling of the wind’ in the third to the almost folklike, idiomatic quality of the eighth.”

– Omaha World-Harald
“The scores that made the deepest impressions were unafraid to probe extremities or employ time-honored techniques in fresh guises.… The most disarming was Thomas Albert’s ‘Thirteen Ways,’ which runs the gamut of musical styles to portray the colorful imagery in Wallace Stevens’ poem, ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird’….”

– The Plain Dealer
“The work is programmatic to the core, with Albert setting the 13 stanzas to a wide range of tempi, styles and instrumentations. The variety gave the musicians an opportunity to display the considerable skills.”

– Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Albert’s piece is made up of 13 miniatures, each drawing a few lines of Wallace Stevens’ poem ‘13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.’ The composer’s imaginative, purely instrumental setting finds the humor and feeling in the words that inspired each sections, while his range of sonority was delightfully fresh.” – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
“The highlight was undoubtedly [‘Thirteen Ways’]… It is a quite theatrical half-hour work… Albert has tapped into what appears to be a well-stuffed eclectic bag and devised 13 ‘ways’ in virtually 13 different contemporary styles, from minimalism to neo-Romanticism to midcentury atonality, with bits of experimentation thrown in. … Overall, ‘Thirteen Ways’ has riveting and very accessible music and, by its end, we get a sense of a total artistic happening — tonal, literary, dramatic.”

– The New Music Connoisseur

“It’s remarkable music… This music feels like dreaming…”

– Bill McGlaughlin, Saint Paul Sunday

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top

?Who Stole the Polka?

Guy Klucevsek

1992, Eva Records – WWCX 2037

?Who Stole the Polka? is the second volume of pieces that accordionist Guy Klucevsek commissioned from composers ranging widely over the contemporary new music scene in the mid-’80s. 

Track 9A

“The Devil’s Polka”

Serenely Cedille

eighth blackbird

Cedille Records – CDR 8001

This new disc of calming classics, drawn from 16 different, acclaimed CDs in the Cedille Records catalog, consists of rare gems of relaxing classical music, ranging from symphony and concerto movements to solo piano, choral, and chamber works. 

Track 9

“Thirteen Ways” - Mvt. IV


Round Nut Tool

eighth blackbird

“Round Nut Tool is our debut CD! A mix of our favorite works from the 1998-99 season, including excerpt tracks from Thomas Albert’s Thirteen Ways. This CD was independently recorded in Warner Concert Hall, Oberlin College, Oberlin OH. Produced and recorded by Michael Schulze and Charles Dixon. Additional support provided by AT&T Research Labs.” 

Tracks 6-8

“Thirteen Ways” - Mvts. VI, XI, VIII

Purchase the CD

Eighth Blackbird - Thirteen Ways, Thomas Albert

Thirteen Ways

eighth blackbird

2003, Cedille Records
Thirteen Ways is Eighth Blackbird’s commercial recording debut album on Cedille Records, featuring music by four of America’s most gifted composers: David Schober (b. 1974), Thomas Albert (b. 1948), Joan Tower (b. 1938), and George Perle (b. 1915).
Tracks 12 – 24

“Thirteen Ways”

Purchase Download

Purchase the CD

Thomas Albert, Composer - A Maze (with Grace), Devil's Rain - Relâche

On Edge


1990, Mode Records – mode 22
Founded in Philadelphia in 1977, Relâche is devoted to the development and performance of contemporary music with an emphasis on works of an experimental nature.
Track 3

“A Maze (With Grace)”

Track 4

“Devil's Rain”


Thomas Albert, Night Music - Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble

Drunken Moon/Night Music

Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble

2007, Lime Green Productions
Two engaging, imaginative and accessible works are featured on this disk of commissions from our 30th Anniversary Season.
(Tracks 11 – 17)

“Night Music”

Purchase Download

Purchase the CD