Traci Mendel composer
James M. David composer
Otto Ketting composer
Bernhard Krol composer
Alexey Posin composer
John McGuire horn
Kevin Chance piano
Wesley Ferreira clarinet
The Fortress Brass Quintet
On LINES AT DUSK, acclaimed hornist John McGuire presents seven pieces, written by a variety of composers, with performances that are at once deep and expansive. The three movements of Landscapes, Series II, inspired by Japanese landscape paintings and woodcuts, travel from the dangerous mountains through the tranquility of the countryside and the bustling energy of a large city. It closes with an extended coda, with longer note values and a more sustained piano part that indicates a return to a calmer, more serene environment.
Beginning with Landscapes, Series II and throughout the album’s next three selections, McGuire is accompanied by pianist Kevin Chance. The duo’s performance on the programmatic Lines at Dusk: Hymn to the Rising Moon, which was inspired by two of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poems, effectively utilizes harmonic color to convey atmosphere as well as emotion.
Nocturne was written by Traci Mendel for horn and piano for McGuire’s birthday in 2000. Embedded in the chords is the opening melody from Strauss’s Horn Concerto No. 1, which McGuire was working on at the time. The piece’s solemn, almost foreboding pace belies the composition’s celebratory inspiration.
On Bataque, McGuire and Chance are joined by Wesley Ferreira, one of the prominent clarinetists of his generation. “Bataque” refers to a genre of music and dance associated with coastal West Africa and Brazil, and this two-movement composition explores the heterophonic and call-and-response techniques of the genre. The first movement focuses on the tuneful melodies performed by the kantaderas (singers) while the second, more energetic movement captures the complex polyrhythms of the batukaderas (drummers.)
The album’s two solo pieces – Intrada and Laudatio – highlight McGuire’s ability to deliver revelatory performances that embody each composer’s inspiration. LINES AT DUSK closes with Brass Quintet No. 1, presented by the Fortress Brass Quintet, of which McGuire is a founding member. Opening with the energetic, inspiring “Allegro Vivo,” the piece’s three movements deliver a sense of enthusiastic forward momentum and emphatically conclude the album.