Reflections & Recollections Vol. 1
Mark John McEncroe composer
Janáček Philharmonic | Anthony Armoré conductor
When Mark John McEncroe is asked what kind of music he composes, his reply invariably is “I don’t know, I just write it.” It’s a clever answer: at first glance it is humble and modest, but it also reveals a considerable degree of naturalness, authenticity, and intuition. The same can be said for McEncroe’s music, which is unapologetically evocative and driven by sentiment, with long lyrical lines and pleasant harmonies. The neo-Romantic style of orchestration which McEncroe intuitively employs fits his ideas perfectly.
The album, which consists of orchestral arrangements of piano works, is characterized by a great consistency of both musical language and quality; despite the individual pieces’ fancifully varied titles, the common theme is McEncroe’s ability to generate, hold, and sustain interest in his compositions. This is no wonder, considering how personal the pieces are to their maker: they are the musical result of McEncroe looking back at a life well-lived, with a mixture of wistful nostalgia and content, clear-headed reflection. But at the same time, these works are far more than chronicles of one individual’s subjective experience. Thanks to their clear form and tonal language, they not only grant access to even the casual listener, but they even seem to apply to that listener as well.
MUSICAL IMAGES FOR CHAMBER ORCHESTRA: REFLECTIONS & RECOLLECTIONS VOL. I is an album perfect for a rainy Sunday afternoon: it makes for an aesthetic, graceful, pleasing (re-)listening experience in which drama is kept to a minimum, but in which movement and excitement is present at all times.