MARK JOHN MCENCROE (b.1947): Symphonic Suite No. 3.
Catalogue Number: 08Y031
Label: Navona Records
Description: More of McEncroe's richly cinematic, resolutely tonal neo-Romantic scores in very much the same vein as his other suites and symphonic poems (02W069, 10U064, etc.). This 3/4 hour suite of three tone poems offers a Romantic view of the natural world, a frequent source of inspiration for the composer. It is based on material from Deep in the Wilderness (on 10U064), expanded from McEncroe's piano score in association with McEncroe's frequent collaborator, Mark Saliba. What we said previously bears repeating: "McEncroe is adept at coming up with lovely, memorable melodies which are then explored extensively in a variety of orchestral guises, whose timbral and dynamic contours and variations in accompaniment suggest a dramatic arc with little in the way of actual development. McEncroe is fond of bass lines used as varied grounds over which his melodies and harmonies progress in narrative fashion, somewhat in the manner of film music." The first piece is underpinned by a distinctive rhythmic figure with a steady pulse which is present or implied throughout much of the movement, acting as a kind of "promenade", suggesting the resolute progress the Romantic traveller through a succession of scenes drawn from the imagery of the great Romantic nature-painters in music - Dvořák, Bruckner, Mahler et al. In the second, the "protagonist" is a burbling mountain stream, represented onomatopoeically by a running ostinato figure which traverses scenery from flower-flecked, sun-dappled mountain meadows to scenes of celebration in towns along the way, à la Smetana's Vltava. The third is like the first, tramping through landscape, except that now the surroundings are wilder, more mountainous and imposing. Zagreb Festival Orchestra; Ivan Josip Skender