Red Note Ensemble

Eddie McGuire: Entangled Fortunes

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Composer Eddie McGuire is not much known outside his native Scotland, but this Delphian release may attract a wider audience for his music. The five works here, all receiving their recorded premieres, were composed over a period of several decades and may weight their individual elements differently, but there's a consistent voice across all five. McGuire's music is generally tonal in orientation, but that voice is only deceptively late Romantic. Scots folk tunes are its basis, but they are never really quoted. Instead they serve as an organic basis for not only melodic material, but also pitch classes and even textures, developing as rigorously as any serial composer could wish. McGuire also shows the impact of the minimalist movement and of new Scandinavian symphonic writing without creating music that really resembles either source. Finally, odd as it may seem, McGuire is a committed Marxist, and some of the music (the title track in particular) is intended to represent economic forces and theories. This is really incidental to the experience of the music; one would never guess it from hearing the music alone. But it adds to the experience of hearing the works of a really distinctive composer. Scotland's Red Note Ensemble (the pieces are for chamber groups of various sizes and forces) has obviously given this music a lot of thought and offers performances that for now may be taken as definitive. Highly recommended, this album deserves to be heard multiple times, in multiple frames of mind.

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