ELLIOTT MILES MCKINLEY (b.1969): String Quartet No. 7 (Martinu Quartet), 3 Portraits for Clarinet, Cello, Violin and Piano (SOLI Chamber Ensemble).
Catalogue Number: 06R077
Label: Navona Records
Description: McKinley writes in an easy-going accessible style. He has a background in jazz, but this only intermittently surfaces explicitly in his music, other than in a predilection for lively, toe-tapping rhythms. The Portraits are three 'watercolors' of different character, for the Quatuor pour le fin du temps ensemble. The first may contain some suggestions of an homage to Messiaen in a few gestures, but the piece is genial in mood and much less serious. The sentimental second and energetic third movements (the latter over a pulsing electronic beat, amusingly imitated in 'classical' gestures in the second half) borrow from a variety of pop and jazz idioms in a lighthearted, entertaining way. The large quartet consists of six movements with evocative titles suggesting light and landscape. The piece includes several jazzy dances, sustained, contemplative meditations, hints of minimalism and a cohesive motif of the persistent use of open-air, open fifths.