Portraits / McGill-McHale Trio
The McGill/McHale Trio, an international all-star ensemble of flute, clarinet, and piano, makes its recording debut with Portraits, featuring world-premiere recordings of new compositions and arrangements for this captivating combination of instruments.
Trio flutist Demarre McGill, a Chicago native, has served as principal flute of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the Dallas, Seattle, and San Diego Symphony Orchestras. His brother, Anthony McGill, is principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic and former principal of the Met Orchestra. Michael McHale, one of Ireland's leading pianists, has performed as soloist with the Minnesota, Halle, Moscow, and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestras and all five of Ireland's major orchestras.
The ''title track'', Valerie Coleman's Portraits of Langston, is a six-movement suite inspired by Langston Hughes's poetry. Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali reads a Hughes poem before each movement. Chris Rogerson's ''A Fish Will Rise'' evokes rippling water and sparkling sunlight. Pianist McHale's arrangement of Rachmaninov's ''Vocalise'' splits the original vocal line between flute and clarinet, supported by Rachmaninov's original piano accompaniment. Paul Schoenfield's spirited ''Sonatina for Flute, Clarinet and Piano'' springs surprises on the Charleston, rag, and jig dance forms. Philip Hammond's ''The Lamentation of Owen O'Neil'' and McHale's arrangement of ''Parade'' channels the spirit and energy of electronic pop.
The Trio has masterfully blended the narrated and purely instrumental tracks of the recording. We also believe the three musicians succeed in unifying a wide array of contemporary compositions into a coherent program which has a great deal to offer the listener.
The concert is beautifully performed, from simple folk tunes to wistful Americana and from playful jazz to thunderous modernism. The McGill brothers boast stunningly clear and resonant woodwind timbres, exquisite balance and blend, sensitive phrasing, and expert technique; and McHale matches them with superb touch, voicing, pedal work, and musical instinct, including a good sense of when to go for broke.
–American Record Guide
Release Date: August 11, 2017
Catalog Number: CDR 172
Number of Discs: 1
Composer: Valerie Coleman
Orchestra/Ensemble: McGill / McHale Trio
Performer: Mahershala Ali