George Frederick McKay: Violin Concerto; Sinfonietta No. 4

George Frederick McKay: Violin Concerto; Sinfonietta No. 4

5.0 1
by Brian Reagin
     
 
The "Dean of Northwest Composers," George Frederick McKay was undoubtedly important for his teaching at the University of Washington, Seattle, and for his personal influence on John Cage, William Bolcom, and several other notable students. Yet McKay's own music faded to the background, largely because of his

Overview

The "Dean of Northwest Composers," George Frederick McKay was undoubtedly important for his teaching at the University of Washington, Seattle, and for his personal influence on John Cage, William Bolcom, and several other notable students. Yet McKay's own music faded to the background, largely because of his overly conservative, academic approaches. The dramatic and lush "Violin Concerto" (1940) is practically a throwback to the late Romantic era; while it is a handsome enough vehicle for violinist Brian Reagin and the Ukraine State Radio Symphony Orchestra, directed by John McLaughlin Williams, it bears few signs of its time and little originality. The quaint "Suite on Sixteenth Century Hymn Tunes" (1962) hearkens back to the Calvinist psalter of Louis Bourgeois, and McKay adapts the music for string orchestra in much the same way that Respighi arranged Renaissance melodies for his "Ancient Airs and Dances." The "Sinfonietta No. 4" (1942) and the "Song Over the Great Plains" (1953) reflect a more modern sensibility, and may be described as works in the American populist style. Yet McKay's music in this vein is a bit too blithe and facile, and never touches on the pathos that validates the similarly styled works by Copland, Harris, and Schuman. Naxos provides fine sound quality.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/18/2005
Label:
Naxos American
UPC:
0636943922521
catalogNumber:
8559225

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Violin Concerto

    • George Frederick McKay
    • George Frederick McKay
    • Ukraine State Radio Symphony Orchestra
    • John McLaughlin Williams
    • Brian Reagin
    1. Allegro molto ma risoluto  (13:58)
    2. Andante - quasi adagio  (07:36)
    3. Allegro vigoroso  (04:30)
  2. Suite on Sixteenth Century Hymn Tunes, version for 2 string orchestras

    • George Frederick McKay
    • George Frederick McKay
    • Ukraine State Radio Symphony Orchestra
    • John McLaughlin Williams
    1. Méditation  (05:30)
    2. Rondolet  (02:33)
    3. Air varié  (04:35)
    4. Chœur céleste  (04:46)
    5. Cortège joyeux  (03:04)
  3. Sinfonietta No. 4

    • George Frederick McKay
    • George Frederick McKay
    • Ukraine State Radio Symphony Orchestra
    • John McLaughlin Williams
    1. Allegro con gaiezza e con brio  (03:46)
    2. Moderato pastorale  (09:39)
    3. Allegro gioioso e ritmico molto  (04:17)
  4. Song over the Great Plains, for piano & orchestra  - George Frederick McKay  - George Frederick McKay  -  Ukraine State Radio Symphony Orchestra  - John McLaughlin Williams  - Ludmilla Kovaleva  (13:57)

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George Frederick McKay: Violin Concerto; Sinfonietta No. 4 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
pacificmelody More than 1 year ago
Conducted by Grammy-winning artist John McLaughlin Williams with a European Symphony, this album gives life to undiscovered works by West Coast American composer George Frederick McKay, who was founder of the composition department at the University of Washington and brought forth several generations of new composers through his teaching and support of many interesting musical personalities, i.e. Earl Robinson (Ballad for Americans, The House We Live In, Black and White); Goddard Lieberson (record producer for West Side Story, South Pacific), William Bolcom, John Cage, Ken Benshoof, and Gerald Kechley. Music on the disc ranges from the modern and romantic Violin Concerto with soaring solos by Brian Reagin, to the brilliant ever-expanding exploration of ancient melodies in "Suite on 16th Century Hymn Tunes" which is now regularly aired on radio stations around the world including WQXR, the New York Times classical channel, Radio Germany and Radio Australia. Also included in this cd are the modern Sinfonietta No. 4, which has a take on the bustle of everyday life and a wonderful pastoral movement echoing the beautiful natural elements of the Pacific Coast, plus the earthy "Song Over the Great Plains," as a tribute to the awakening of Spring in a broad landscape framed by thunderstorms and singing of meadowlarks. The NAXOS Records website carries several positive reviews concerning this ground-breaking recording, which continues to gain favor with listeners tuning in to the classical airwaves of the world. McKay's Hymn Tunes work was broadcast for Thanksgiving Day 2008 in New York City by WQXR, for example.