Wednesday, January 30, 2013

McCormick Percussion Group, Concerti for Piano with Percussion Orchestra

I've found that the moment I unwrap a CD from its mailing packet I have some expectations as to what the music might be like. That was certainly the case with the McCormick Percussion Group's Concerti for Piano with Percussion Orchestra (Ravello 7862).

The piano and the percussion orchestra are natural allies as far as a percussion family goes. You might expect that the pitched nature of the piano might result in more scoring for the pitched mallet instruments, and if you've listened to plenty of percussion group music over the years you have a mental-aural picture of what is the orthodoxy there.

With this recording you have two formal concerti, one by David Gillingham and one by David Noon; and two shorter single movement works--by Igor Santos and Mel Mobley, respectively.

So what I didn't expect was anything romantic, almost Rachmoninovian, but that's the surprise in Gillingham's work. The David Noon concerto is more rhythmic, angular, more in the percussion music zone. The piano functions as a very rhythmic component and you get something that a percussion orchestra handles well.

The same expectation applies to the Santos and Mobley shorties. They are firmly in the more orthodox modern zone.

The McCormick players under Robert McCormick acquit themselves well, as does soloist Ji Hyun Kim.

It is engaging music. Percussion ensemble aficionados will find this a good addition. And who would have expected the romantic concerto?

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