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Classical Music Review

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Kid Stuff: Soli For Piano With Percussion Orchestra


Composers: Various
Performed by: McCormick Percussion Group and Eunmi Ko (piano)
Label: Ravello Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 12 January 2018

Juxtaposing the loud and abrasive with the soft and subtle, the McCormick Percussion Group balances tumult and tender in Kid Stuff. Led by director Robert McCormick, Professor of Music at the University of South Florida in Tampa, the percussion orchestra re-imagines original compositions from five key contemporary classical composers...

It's an interesting idea, and to be honest it's incredibly well executed. Whether you'll enjoy this comes down to whether you're a fan of percussion based music. Sadly, I'm not overly a fan, but I do see its merits.

The first series of compositions come from John Liberatore. Titled 'This Living Air', the four-movement composition is a collage of percussion instruments played with the sort of delicacy and innocence that is reminiscent of childhood. The experimental compositions feature the circular frolic of glockenspiel and marimbas with Eunmi Ko’s piano melodies dancing in the centre.

Seunghee Lee composed the second track, 'Pung-Kyung'. Experimental in nature, Ko’s piano treads curiously along as the percussion group accentuates sudden strikes of sound in the xylophone, hand drums, and wood blocks.

The next track 'Solstice', originally penned by Hilary Tann, features five acts, starting with the solemn, melancholic “Breakup ‘Imperceptible Dissolution’” following through three acts to the epic conclusion of the ‘Freeze-Up “Icy Silvers and Darts.”

The McCormick Percussion Group rounds out their album with the moody, sullen 'Dark Paradise' by composer Ciro Scotto, followed quickly by the erratic chaos of Matt Barber’s 'Kid Stuff: Five Figments for Piano and Percussion'.

If you're looking by a modern, experimental classical album performed by a percussion group then you'll no doubt get a huge kick out of this. Personally it left me cold, and actually reminded me of being at school and mucking about on the percussion instruments with the rest of the class.


Darren Rea

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