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Anastasia Tsioulcas

"Seattle-based composer George Frederick McKay ("The Dean of Northwest Composers") is being celebrated as part of Naxos' American Classics series. Among other musicians enlisted for this task are the husband-and-wife duo of William Bolcom and Joan Morris, and you couldn't ask for a more sympathetic pairing of artists and repertoire.

An April Suite, is marked by an impressionistic feeling; McKay's lovely, gentle chromaticisms look to France for their inspiration. Similarly, From My Tahoe Window-Summer Moods and Patterns (from 1965) is a particularly rich collection of programmatic miniatures that nod to nature ("Sunrise", "Storm Clouds", etc.).

Joan Morris' appearance in the Excerpts from Five Songs for Soprano (1964) and 1969's Every Flower that Ever Grew is glorious. Her sure, strong tone and exemplary enunciation create a model for young singers to follow."

Herman Trotter
The Buffalo News

"The broadest and most representative selection of Griffes' orchestral works ever presented on a single disc. And the performances are all top level."

Michael Anthony

"The music of George Frederic McKay should be better known than it is. Maybe this charming sample of McKay's songs, piano music and chamber music performed by William Bolcom and his wife, mezzo-soprano Joan Morris, and joined by a few other fine musicians, will give the musical world a heads-up on McKay, who died in 1970.

Bolcom, one of the most distinguished and prolific U.S. composers, is also a skillful pianist. He was a leader in the ragtime revival of the 1970s, and there are touches of ragtime - and more than a hint of Zez Confrey -- in McKay's "Caricature Dance Suite" from 1924, which opens the set. The later "From My Tahoe Window" (1965) exhibits a kind of quirky impressionism, while the "Five Songs for Soprano," also from the '60s, are full of wit and careful word-setting - apt vehicles for Morris's rich singing. Included, too, is the more dramatic Suite for Viola and Piano (1948) played deftly by pianist Sanford Margolis and violist Mahoko Eguchi.

McKay was a maverick, but this record suggests that the mavericks live on.

Rob Barnett
MusicWeb International

"Joan Morris, a long practised, intelligent and affecting singer in this genre, sings well though there is a slight, perhaps touching, tremor in her voice. The songs are consummately constructed, without great artifice. They reach out directly as do Copland's Old American Songs. This is all highly attractive music."

Tom Di Nardo
Philadelphia Daily News

"A Revelation."

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