Anna Appleby’s Sonnet 43 was a passionate song without words, inspired by the irrationality and terror of grief as expressed in one of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poems. The piano had a concertante role, occasionally combative and at different times forming an uneasy union with the other instruments. The instrumentation was invariably inventive, with a striking interpolation, near the end, of brightly coloured whirly tubes. Alternately barbed and shadowy, Anna Appleby’s bold, far-reaching score embraced the wild and shocking qualities of mourning, as well as conveying the depth of pain of a lament.
CBSO Sounds New - Paul Conway, Musical Opinion (April 2023)
...the score flows seamlessly while allowing the musical personalities to shine. ★★★★
The music is played by Psappha and although at time is complex and modern there is an underlying sense of a folk tradition. And the music is wonderful as is the libretto which is accessible and at all times sung with clarity, negating the need for the surtitles.
What soon came to mind was that this new work has real potential to be seen and heard again and again... ★★★★★
Pay the Piper with Glyndebourne Youth Opera - Latest Brighton (Feb 2022)
The Piper’s story, together with the framing passages, the interludes and the opening and closing music, was composed by Anna Appleby. Bold yet hintingly plaintive motifs introduce The Piper...
Pay the Piper with Glyndebourne Youth Opera - Mark Aspen (Feb 2022)
Anna Appleby‘s 5-minute solo saxophone piece 13.8 Billion Years began as a soaring melody, before exploding into florid life peppered with key-clicks (which, for once, didn’t seem like an overused effect) and sharp multiphonic colourations. Amy Green’s performance of the piece was fantastic: beautifully controlled through the opening, and genuinely mesmerising as the work developed, coming across like a snake charmer. Though both the title and the premise of the piece were (deliberately?) preposterous, it didn’t matter; I interpreted it that the previous 13.8 billion years had all been leading up to this particular moment – a wait that felt totally worth it.
HCMF Shorts - 5 against 4 (Nov 2021)
Another of the gems in this collection has to be ‘Funreality’ by Anna Appleby...
The Fairlight Book of Short Stories - Jacci Gooding for TSS Publishing (Apr 2021)
Anna Appleby’s 13.8 Billion Years was performed by saxophonist Amy Green. Inspired by ‘the formation of the universe, through clouds of matter to galaxies, to stars, planets and, eventually, life,’ Appleby explores the universe of soprano saxophone technique in an accessible work with a rhythmically inventive central section that shows her affinity with dance. Green’s outstanding breath control and perfectly placed multiphonics revealed this piece to be an excellent addition to the repertoire of adventurous saxophonists.
Riot Ensemble Zeitgeist Commissions - I Care If You Listen (Nov 2020)
The song cycle... was commissioned by @glyndebourne and shows Anna's dramatic flair even with the small forces involved.
Anna's work also reaches far outside the realms of the concert hall, as in this dreamy electronic work for dance, 'Sunken City'.
Anna's 'Sleepwalking' began as a piece for @EnsembleKlang and can offer a short and manageable introduction to contemporary music for young and old players alike, or an opportunity for more advanced performers to find the expressivity in simple musical materials.
But the ones I found most powerful were Lucy Hale’s Kisses, Crosses, Losses, a slow, keening lament that continued the story of the 1914-18 tragedy, Anna Appleby’s Disabled, an unaccompanied setting of Wilfred Owen that formed a pivotal point in the evening, and Grace Evangeline Mason’s Lifted, an interlude of simple innocence that did what the title said, with eloquent melody, as a child describes the joy of solitude and the open freedom of the park.
The Manchester Peace Song Cycle - Manchester Classical Music (November 2018)
Sounds of the geese and of water were prominent on the tape and to begin with, the three instrumentalists painted little dabs of musical colour over the sounds of the birds. Gradually the trio coalesced playing together in attractive and very poetic sounding music. Towards the end there was a resurgence of the geese and the water. The whole piece was very colourful in its evocation of the northern landscapes or should I say seascapes?
Nordic Viola at sound Festival - Alan Cooper (October 2018)
Dzierzon’s Cue, to music by St Hilda’s graduate Anna Appleby, is an exceptionally strong collaboration between composer and choreographer that began in the earliest stages of musical composition, resulting in a particularly satisfying close-knit work.
Motion and Meaning - Oxford Dance Writers (July 2018)
Tell Me the Truth About Love - The Guardian (April 2018)
...the themes of loss, conflict and identity crisis which it highlights are complex and chillingly familiar in the current political climate. The intimacy of the RADA Studios gave composer and librettist Anna Appleby a fantastic space in which to explore these issues with some fresh and gripping writing.
Chamber Opera - Emily RH Wilson (August 2017)
Dane Hurst collaborated with the composer Anna Appleby to create the trio Citizens. The lyrical pyrotechnics of Appleby's sound score cum opera Citizens of Nowhere embraces every moment of this tautly and expressively choreographed piece which abounds with sometimes emphatic yet often conflicted partnerships.
Ignition Dance Festival - Tia Asterope (June 2017)
There was Anna Appleby, late of the Young Sinfonia orchestra, with her staccato and fragmented musical phrasings based upon Le Nozze di Figaro.
Royal Northern Sinfonia - The Chronicle (January 2016)