Vibrant songs for an uncommon trio of instruments | Arts & Enjoyment

Demarre McGill is a Chicago native from the much South Aspect. Locating his father’s flute in a closet in the family members dwelling was the to start with phase in his profession. He started off flute lessons at age 7, finding out with Hyde Parker Susan Levitin, then principal flutist with the Lyric Opera Orchestra, now retired. At age 15 McGill took initially place in the Illinois Bell Young Artists Competitiveness (the forerunner of today’s CSO Young Artists Competition) held in conjunction with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as a consequence he experienced a solo effectiveness with the CSO. He studied at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia as very well as Juilliard.

McGill’s job has soared given that then. He now performs as a soloist, a chamber and orchestral musician, and serves as a university professor. He is a member of the McGill/McHale Trio, which also incorporates his brother, clarinetist Anthony McGill, and pianist Michael McHale.

But Demarre McGill arrived to Hyde Park last Friday, February 24 to conduct with the Myriad Trio for UChicago Presents. The Myriad is an unconventional trio: flute, viola and harp. The 1st major function created for this configuration came from Claude Debussy (1862–1918), so there isn’t a huge literature for this trio.

That did not cease the Myriad Trio. McGill and his associates — violist Che-Yen Chen and harpist Julie Smith Phillips — have commissioned works and their method started with one of these compositions.

“The Eye of Night” was composed by David Bruce (b. 1970), a British-American who has been composer in residence at the Royal Opera Residence and at the San Diego Symphony (the latter is exactly where all the users of Myriad Trio have labored in the previous, and Phillips carries on to do the job there). The get the job done is in 4 actions, every single a single a nocturne. In his software notes, Bruce writes of the inspiration of a cloudless night time sky entirely unobscured by metropolis lights. He invokes “the magnificence and the grandeur of the spectacle” but extra importantly, becoming faced with “the wide thriller of the universe.”

This music had all these items: magnificence, grandeur and thriller. The very first nocturne was given a muted, dreamy and darkish texture by the Myriad. The contrapuntal elements had been gloriously laid out in flawlessly meshing trend. The next movement (they are simply numbered a single by way of four), was characterized by bubbly, swirling songs that grew in both quantity and psychological depth just before a peart ending. The 3rd movement showcased a wonderful eddy of immediate, joyful notes from McGill’s flute, which had the lightness of a subject stuffed with butterflies. The last movement was a lullaby, incredibly slow and mild. In this article, McGill’s bass flute provided classy two-observe phrases over a gossamer general performance by Phillips on the harp.

Chicago composer Jan Bach (1937–2020) was represented on the software with his fascinating perform “Eisteddfod.” In about a quarter of a century of listening to and writing about classical music, this was only the next time I have read this piece carried out dwell. The piece opens with solo viola, and Chen provided a breathtaking introduction, with mellow sound for the abundant and a little bit enigmatic melody.

Then the get the job done moves to a established of variations, which are properly-drawn and offer you the instrumentalists a prospect to build a broad array of intriguing sounds: spookiness from the harp, a whistle from the flute, and the like. The trio played with clarity and drew both equally the fun and the pleasure from the new music.

After the intermission the trio returned to conduct the new music of Lita Grier (b. 1927) a local composer who McGill has acknowledged for many years and described as “dear to me.” (It was a pity Grier was not existing, as she has attended UChicago Offers live shows in the earlier at Mandel.)

Grier had an unusual profession route. She commenced composing as a youngster and received the New York Philharmonic’s Younger Composer’s Contest at age 16. She studied songs with Roy Harris and Lukas Foss and attended master lessons with Aaron Copland. But she felt her musical vocabulary experienced little prospect of success when music at that time was dominated by serial procedures. She gave up composing and invested the upcoming 30 many years producing radio programs, writing and working on songs festivals. But in her 60s she resumed composing and has established many intriguing compositions given that.

Grier’s “Elegy” was penned just above a decade ago, in memory of Fredda Hyman (1937–2011). Hyman experienced been a ballerina with the American Ballet Theatre. Later on she started Tunes in the Loft, wherever she brought chamber musicians into her have home (a massive loft in the West Loop) for personal chamber performances. These were being musically wealthy concerts enhanced by an casual reception afterwards in which audience and musicians could fulfill and chat soon after the general performance.

“Elegy” experienced plaintive flute, soothing harp and stoic viola. This tranquil, peaceful tunes had some intimate shades that have been painted with sophistication and honesty by the trio, who drew out the loving and tender times with talent. The performance was fully commited, delicate and extremely satisfying.

It was no shock to see the Debussy Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp on the plan. The musicians dove into the audio and transported you to a globe of coloristic outcomes, which ended up landscape excellent. McGill seemed like he was casting spells with his flute, the audio was so intriguing and pleasant. The harp’s playful moments ranged from cheery to ecstatic. Chen’s viola experienced soul and energy.

The concert shut with Three Preludes by George Gershwin. These limited pieces were being infused with jazzy syncopation and bluesy exclamations.

The tunes was wonderful and the viewers cherished it. As well poor that the turnout was rather reduced, suggesting that UChicago Offers is battling to get back its pre-pandemic audience. I hope they realize success in executing so, for the reason that concert events like the 1 the Myriad Trio made available are exceptional jewels.