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Classical Music Review

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Musical Images for Chamber Orchestra
Reflections & Recollections Vol. 1


Composer: Mark John McEncroe
Conductor: Anthony Armoré
Performed by: Janáček Philharmonic
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 27 September 2019

Mark John McEnroe's latest album for Navona Records, Musical Images for Chamber Orchestra, consists of orchestral arrangements of piano works. They are the musical result of McEnroe 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...

Mark John McEnroe (Dark Clouds in Life; Live in Ostrava; Musical Images for Piano; My Symphonic Poems) has a knack for delivering music that is capable of touching your heart and lifting your soul. It's a skill few composers possess these days, but McEnroe seems to be able to do it naturally and effortlessly. All of his albums released through Navona Records are ones I regularly dig out and listen to and still get a lot of pleasure from.

On Musical Images for Chamber Orchestra, McEnroe takes us on a journey that encompasses traditional neo-Romantic classical pieces, sweeping movie-like scores as well as the sound of classic TV shows. Nowhere is this more evident than on 'A Lazy Summer's Afternoon', which in many ways brings to mind the sensibilities of American shows of the '50s/'60s especially Westerns and family centric serials.

This is a diverse and heart-wrenchingly beautiful collection. The album, spread across two discs, contains 13 pieces (1 hr, 22 min, 12 sec). Treat yourself. You won't be disappointed.


Darren Rea

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