Natalie’s Suite & Other Works


Mark John McEncroe




A persistent goal of Mark John McEncroe is to create compositions that elicit an emotional response, as is echoed in the titles of his works. This is particularly true of the Australian composer’s Navona debut DARK CLOUDS OF LIFE, a conceptual release focused on overcoming addiction and depression, challenges McEncroe has personally struggled with. His sessions in Ostrava, Czech Republic with the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra and pianist Helen Kennedy produced a cornerstone suite and three addendums that capture the essence of the record’s stated purpose.


The most personal of these works is the three-movement Natalie’s Suite. McEncroe dedicated the piece to his daughter, who has been “wrestling with addiction and depression as I have and is well on the way to a better life. This suite is all about that struggle.” The emotive, expansive performances of this tribute by Kennedy and the Janáček Philharmonic amount to a stirring soundtrack to Natalie’s journey and the turmoil of all who battle addiction.


The composer describes these themes as grappling with an insane, detrimental cycle of repeating mistakes, which he chose to illustrate by staying in the home key throughout the entire work and creating a “tragic soundscape.” This is most prominently showcased in the storming density of the suite’s first two, 20-minute movements – “Facing the Demons” and “Into the Dark Spaces.”


Yet, as “Moving into the Light” concludes Natalie’s Suite, a lighter mood begins to dissipate the tragedy of the suite. The movement accomplishes what its title suggests, presenting and embodiment of McEncroe’s view that “there can be no recovery until acceptance of complete powerlessness is reached. Only at that point can an addict and/or alcoholic begin the long slow, painful, but richly rewarding journey into a brand new life.”


Though the Janáček Philharmonic returns on Echoes from a Haunted Past, Kennedy dominated the album’s three addendums with her solo piano performances on Natalie’s Theme and The Pendulum. While both pieces are haunting displays, it is the pianist’s reprise of Natalie’s Suite which beautifully accents the album’s central theme. The solo duet also draws from McEncroe’s fondness of Japanese gardens, bonsai and koi ponds, an influence he compares to the way in which Claude Monet took inspiration from his garden for many of his paintings.




Born in Sydney, Australia, Mark John McEncroe played several instruments – including trumpet, flute and clarinet – before setting his focus on composition and piano. His mentors and collaborators include DARK CLOUDS IN LIFE pianist Helen Kennedy; pianist and PARMA artist Margaret Brandman; and orchestrator Mark Saliba, with whom McEncroe has shared a close musical partnership since 2007.


Stylistically, many of McEncroe’s compositions carry a very strong French Impressionist influence. There are also strong themes of J.S. Bach/Baroque music and frequent use of jazz harmonies throughout his works.


Based in Ostrava, Czech Republic, the Janáček Philharmonic symphony orchestra is comprised of around a hundred musicians and known for the unique softness of its strings and tight brass ensemble.


McEncroe dedicated Natalie’s Suite to his daughter and her struggle with addiction and depression, issues which he himself battled in his youth. He shares that he has “been on this journey and have experienced over 31 years of freedom from the malady of addiction. This work is highly personal, and is dedicated to Natalie and the many others who face the same struggles.”




(NV6021)  TE DEUM

Nicolas Kaviani













Release Date: March 10, 2017

Catalog #: NV6082





Natalie’s Suite Three Faces of Addiction

Symphonic Suite for Piano & Orchestra

Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra |   Anthony Armore conductor

Helen Kennedy piano


1  Facing The Demons

2   Into The Dark Spaces

3   Moving Into The Light


4  Natalie’s Theme

Helen Kennedy piano


5  Symphonic Poem Echoes From a Haunted Past

Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra  |   Anthony Armore conductor


6  The Pendulum

Helen Kennedy piano




All Pieces Composed By Mark John McEncroe



Natalie’s Suite

Recorded December 2014, at The Hall of Culture

in Ostrava Czech Republic

Orchestration Mark J. Saliba

Sound Engineer Jaroslav Zouhar


Natalie’s Theme

Taken from the album

Reflections & Recollections Vol. 2

Rerecorded early 2015 at Trackdown Studios,

Moore Park in Sydney Australia

Session Producer Daniel Brown


Symphonic Poem Echoes From a Haunted Past

Recorded June 2015 at The Hall of Culture in

Ostrava Czech Republic

Session Producer & Engineer Jaroslav Zouhar


The Pendulum

Taken from the album

Reflections & Recollections Vol.1

Rerecorded early 2015at Trackdown Studios,

Moore Park in Sydney Australia

Session Producer Daniel Brown


All works on this album have been re-mastered

March 2016 in Australia

by Don Bartley, Benchmark Mastering


Scores are available for purchase through

Wirripang publishing



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Phone: 02 4228 9388

Email: keats@wirripang.com.au


Copyright © Wirripang Pty Ltd 2016. Wirr 077

Wirripang Pty Ltd


Wirripang has a strong commitment to the furtherance

and growth of Australian musical literature and it is

hoped that this CD will enhance this endeavour.



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