Innova CD 739
Pianist Matthew McCright’s recital disc on the Innova imprint has been given a cute but apt ‘in house’ descriptor: “Kinderszenen aus Northfield.” Indeed, the Carleton College professor and new music advocate has assembled a disc of new works which simultaneously channel and elevate the “music for childhood/music about childhood” genre.
For those who’ve slaved through dull character pieces and rhythmically inert etudes during childhood piano lessons, several of the pieces on Misplaced Childhood will no doubt repair these memories. Indeed, the disc replaces them with the type of fare one wishes was in the folders – and practice routines – of more students today. Namely, the composers featured here are able to evoke childhood and, often, to write with student performers in mind, while never ‘writing down’ to young musicians. One is particularly charmed by the dance compositions of Daniel Nas and Laura Caviani; both have written suites filled with jazzy character pieces which seem readymade for the student recital stage. John Halle’s “Lullaby” and “Misplaced Childhood” are both lithely evocative standouts as well.
McCright’s detailed and engaging renditions amply demonstrate that pieces for intermediate performers, as well as those for advanced pianists who are channeling memories of childhood, can still make for interesting listening and prove themselves of considerable substance.