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American Classics - McKay: From A Moonlit Ceremony, Etc


Release Date: 04/17/2001 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559052   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  George McKay
Conductor:  John McLaughlin Williams
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ukrainian National Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 9 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

George Frederick McKay (1899-1970) was known as the "Dean of Northwest composers", having made a successful musical career in Seattle where he was professor of music at the University of Washington for more than 41 years. McKay drew upon the sounds of his region for his compositions, and these included the songs and dances of the local Native American peoples that form the basis of From a Moonlit Ceremony (1945), a purely orchestral work that's both a vivid portrayal of tribal ceremonies and a testament to Mckay's compositional wizardry. A Harbor Narrative (1934) conjures up a variety of images, from the tranquil eddies of Sea Horizon, to the hustle-bustle of Men and Machines (which has a busy, sophisticated quality not unlike Read more Gershwin's Second Rhapsody).


By 1951, when he composed his Symphony for Seattle, McKay's style had become quite personalized and refined. Rather than relying on sound-pictures, McKay here strives to capture the essence of the breathtakingly beautiful region, resulting in music that has a recognizable "outdoor" quality, but closer to Howard Hanson than Aaron Copland. John McLaughlin Williams leads all three works with remarkable sensitivity to McKay's moods. I continue to be amazed at how well this Ukranian orchestra plays American music, as it has done throughout Naxos' excellent American Classics series. The recording takes on a slight glare in the tuttis, but is otherwise fine. Naxos has unearthed yet another gem.
--Victor Carr Jr., ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
From a Moonlit Ceremony by George McKay
Conductor:  John McLaughlin Williams
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ukrainian National Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; USA 
Date of Recording: 06/1999 
Venue:  National Radio Company of Ukraine, Kiev 
Length: 15 Minutes 13 Secs. 
2.
Harbor Narrative by George McKay
Conductor:  John McLaughlin Williams
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ukrainian National Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; USA 
Date of Recording: 06/1999 
Venue:  National Radio Company of Ukraine, Kiev 
Length: 29 Minutes 22 Secs. 
3.
Evocation Symphony "Symphony for Seattle" by George McKay
Conductor:  John McLaughlin Williams
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ukrainian National Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1951; USA 
Date of Recording: 06/1999 
Venue:  National Radio Company of Ukraine, Kiev 
Length: 24 Minutes 34 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

From a Moonlit Ceremony: IV. Festival Dance
Evocation Symphony "Symphony for Seattle": III. Allegro vigoroso e ritmico

Sound Samples

Moonlit Ceremony: I. Evocation
Moonlit Ceremony: II.Demon Dance
Moonlit Ceremony: III. Spirit Song
Moonlit Ceremony: IV. Festival Dance
Harbor Narrative: I. Sea Horizon
Harbor Narrative: II. En route
Harbor Narrative: III. Voice of the City
Harbor Narrative: IV. Chanty
Harbor Narrative: V. Men and Machines
Harbor Narrative: VI. Gulls
Harbor Narrative: VII. Waterfront March
Harbor Narrative: VIII. Outward Bound
Harbor Narrative: IX. Into the Distance
Evocation Symphony, "Symphony for Seattle": I. Andante - Allegro con moto
Evocation Symphony, "Symphony for Seattle": II. Andante teneramente e pastorale
Evocation Symphony, "Symphony for Seattle": III. Allegro vigoroso e ritmico

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