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Halle: Second Childhood; Stark, Hutterm Broberg, Nass, Caviani / Matthew Mccright

Release Date: 06/09/2009 
Label:  Innova   Catalog #: 739   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Gregory HutterKirsten BrobergJohn HalleDaniel Nass,   ... 
Performer:  Matthew McCright
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

SECOND CHILDHOOD Matthew McCright (pn) INNOVA 739 (56:47)

STARK Five Preludes. HUTTER Evening Air. BROBERG Constellations. HALLE Lullaby. Second Childhood. NASS Dance Preludes. CAVIANI Read more class="ARIAL12bi">Jazz Etudes

Matthew McCright is an American pianist who graduated from Westminster College, the conservatory at the University of Cincinnati, and the University of Minnesota, where he earned his doctoral degree. Currently on the faculty of Minnesota’s Carleton College, he has fashioned a career that revolves around the performance of music by living composers, which he has played throughout the country (though I’d suggest he keep his day job). This recording is the result of a concept devised by McCright to create a program of music written for him by composer-friends. Each piece is intended to evoke some aspect of the pianist’s youth—hence, the title of the disc.

Most of the music on the program draws upon, or veers close to, vernacular styles, ragtime in particular, so the listerner’s receptiveness to this style, in its more domesticated distillations, will probably influence the degree of appeal it holds. Rags are contributed by Gregory Hutter, John Halle, and Daniel Nass. Hutter’s is especially touching, as it captures the poignant undercurrent that makes ragtime more than a one-dimensional form, without diverging far from its conventional roots. There are tangos, waltzes, and other familiar dance styles as well. Daniel Nass’s offerings seemed a little too close to the essential templates to be interesting, although there are occasionally surprising harmonic twists. Halle’s Lullaby is pleasantly insinuating, but the more ambitious Second Childhood, the symbolic and eponymous centerpiece of the whole program, is more fully evolved, displaying some delightful and clever rhythmic felicities.

I found Bruce Stark’s Five Preludes among the most appealing offerings on the disc. Descended from the long tradition of piano preludes, his contributions draw largely upon impressionistic harmony, and are improvisatory in character, with some reminiscence of jazz pianist Bill Evans. I found No. 5 especially impressive. Kirsten Broberg’s Constellations touches upon McCright’s interest in astronomy, and is probably the one offering that has virtually no vernacular reference. Her piece, which is a little over-extended, nevertheless produces some mysterious and alluring harmonic sonorities, along the lines of later Scriabin. Laura Caviani’s Jazz Etudes comprise a blues, a tango, and a boogie-woogie. They are a little too close to their vernacular roots for my taste.

Every piece is played with a great deal of gusto as well as finesse. Readers who are attracted by the concept are likely to find the disc a pleasant experience.

FANFARE: Walter Simmons
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Works on This Recording

Evening Air by Gregory Hutter
Performer:  Matthew McCright (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 6 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Constellations by Kirsten Broberg
Performer:  Matthew McCright (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 7 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Lullaby by John Halle
Performer:  Matthew McCright (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 5 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Second Childhood by John Halle
Performer:  Matthew McCright (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 6 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Dance Preludes by Daniel Nass
Performer:  Matthew McCright (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 9 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Jazz Etudes: Blues by Laura Caviani
Performer:  Matthew McCright (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 4 Minutes 44 Secs. 
Jazz Etudes: Tango la Falda by Laura Caviani
Performer:  Matthew McCright (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 3 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Jazz Etudes: Matt's Boogie by Laura Caviani
Performer:  Matthew McCright (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 2 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Preludes (5) for Piano by Bruce Stark
Performer:  Matthew McCright (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2003; Japan 
Length: 9 Minutes 39 Secs. 

Sound Samples

5 Preludes: No. 1. -
5 Preludes: No. 2. -
5 Preludes: No. 3. -
5 Preludes: No. 4. -
5 Preludes: No. 5. -
Evening Air
Dance Preludes: No. 1. Waltz
Dance Preludes: No. 2. Tango
Dance Preludes: No. 3. Rag
Jazz Etudes: No. 1. Blues
Jazz Etudes: No. 2. Tango la Falda
Jazz Etudes: No. 3. Matt's Boogie
Second Childhood

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