Portraits — Works for Flute, Clarinet & Piano
- CDR 90000 172
The longer Cedille Selects track excerpts are designed to provide a representative overview of the album
Album Description Download Full CD Booklet
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 Seattle, Dallas, and San Diego symphony orchestras, as well as acting principal of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.. 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, Hallé, 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 (Moonlight) 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 The Lark in Clear Air are serenely beautiful treatments of irresistible Irish folk tunes. Guillaume Connesson’s Techno-Parade channels the spirit and energy of electronic pop.
Coleman’s Portraits of Langston and Schoenfield’s Sonatina receive their World-Premiere Recordings. These trio versions of Rachmaninov’s Vocalise, Hammond’s The Lamentation of Owen O’Neil and The Lark in Clear Air are also world premieres on record.
Formed in 2014, the McGill/McHale Trio has won critical acclaim for concerts in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC, among other cities. The Philadelphia Inquirer proclaimed, “They can play off each other with hair-trigger precision, their blends are … amazing, creating a hybrid sonority I don’t think I’ve previously heard.”
Patrick Hanudel American Record Guide
"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. He also offers marvelous arrangements, organizing the colors of the flute, clarinet, and piano to optimum effect. Ali brings Hughes’s verse alive with a smooth baritone voice and excellent diction, and he perfectly captures each poem’s lyrical flow, melodious rhythm, and vivid personality."
Brenda Nelson-Strauss Black Grooves
"The ensemble performs brilliantly . . . Portraits showcases the formidable talents of Demarre and Anthony McGill, who have found their match in the outstanding pianist Michael McHale. Performing with emotional intensity, extraordinary precision, and superb blending of timbres, the McGill/McHale Trio presents a dazzling debut album that’s equally significant for its three world premiere recordings of contemporary works. Highly recommended!"
Michael Quinn Classical Ear
"A new trans-Atlantic trio makes its debut with considerable aplomb in a programme that delights, stirs, moves and entertains in equal measure . . . [the McGill/McHale Trio plays] with a nimble, nuanced reciprocity that belies their three-year-long partnership . . . a recording of well-framed, crisp clarity adds to the pleasure."
Paul E. Robinson Classical Voice North America
"Portraits is a thoughtfully assembled album of mostly contemporary American music that’s sure to win [the artists] many new friends . . . each piece is well worth a hearing and some are richly rewarding and even surprisingly entertaining."
Jesus Vega El Nuevo Herald
"A promising trio that leaves us waiting for their next disc."
Ronald E. Grames Fanfare
"I don't think I can remember an ensemble introducing itself to the record collecting public with more personality and profile that the McGill/McHale Trio . . . This unique and superlatively played release is one of the most remarkable listening experiences of recent memory, and it demands to be heard by anyone who calls him- or herself a music lover. How's that for a recommendation?"
InfoDad Team InfoDad.com
"The McGill/McHale Trio is an effervescent group whose members sound as if they take joy as well as pride in the rather unconventional instrumentation of their ensemble."
Bob Neill Positive Feedback
"I loved the music . . . and the sound is magical."
Clare Monfredo I Care If You Listen
"Portraits uncovers the vast range of characters and qualities that a flute-clarinet-piano trio can take on."