Regarded as one of the most brilliant composers of her generation, Cindy McTee demonstrates her prodigious skills at orchestral writing in this 2013 Naxos release, recorded by Leonard Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. For the perpetual motion piece Circuits (1990), McTee uses timbres in a dynamic way, keeping tone colors cycling in constant rotation, almost in synchronization with the changes of rhythmic cells. Her Symphony No. 1 ("Ballet for Orchestra") (2002) fuses the form of the modern symphony with the rhythmic propulsion of dance, and the combination is innovative and ingenious, especially in the powerful Introduction: On with the Dance. But McTee's cleverest stroke is the parodistic Waltz: Light Fantastic, where she evokes the ghosts of Mahler and Ravel with a sly sense of humor. Einstein's Dream (2004) is a meditation on space and time that blends the sonorities of strings, percussion, and electronics, and the merging of traditional and avant-garde styles suggests Albert Einstein's quest for a grand unified theory in physics. Finally, in Double Play, McTee takes her inspiration from Charles Ives' Unanswered Question and Leonard Slatkin's Fin to create a diptych that eloquently summarizes her varied approaches to composition. These pieces are given exciting performances by Slatkin and the DSO, and McTee's kaleidoscopic music is given a marvelous presentation with deep and spacious sound.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Symphony No. 1 "Ballet for Orchestra"|