STRINGS & HAMMERS

The McCormick Percussion Group

 

Anthony R. Green

Eduardo Costa Roldán

Emily Koh

Jarkko Hartikainen

Alessandro Annunziata

 

Robert McCormick  Director

Julia Keller Double bass

Eunmi Ko  Piano

Sini Virtanen  Violin

 

Fresh from Ravello Records is The McCormick Percussion Group’s STRINGS & HAMMERS. In this latest offering, the MPG tackles a program of new and politically charged works. They are joined by the violin-bass-piano trio Strings and Hammers. Together, the ensemble of string and percussion players employs rhythm, eccentric timbres, and even their own yelping, whispering voices to express powerfully relevant themes.

 

The McCormick Percussion Group has never shied away from contentious issues, and this album is no different. It opens with Piano Concerto: Solution, in which frantic piano lines and impassioned claps and stomps reflect deep frustration with the modern political scene in the United States. A direct response to Toni Morrison’s call for all artists to “get to work” in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, this piece is a staunch rebuke against misogyny and racism in all of its forms. Memento Mori takes a similar tack; it is a badly-needed reminder of mortality and the frailty of the human condition during a time when hubris and incivility seem to run rampant. We hear the skin of the players’ hands beat each drumhead, a stark and defiant flash of humanity in the midst of moral collapse. Pulsar, composed by Eduardo Costa Roldán, and inspired by the idea of constant unstable pulsation. This natural and primal sound is developed through a constant semiquaver that changes meter throughout the piece. The album goes beyond protest into even more cerebral realms—Ice Concerto, for violin solo and percussion ensemble, is infused with notions of elemental chemistry. The piece portrays the atomic disintegration of dripping ice through anxiety-ridden, jolting rhythms and creeping violin stabs.

 

Alessandro Annuziata's Apollon, the closing piece on the album, is a three movement work written for solo piano and six percussionists dedicated to Eunmi Ko, Robert McCormick, and the McCormick Percussion Ensemble. Named after the Greek God of music, prophecy, and healing, and with minimum pause between movements, Apollon brings the album to a fantastic finale.

 

STRINGS & HAMMERS brings an audacious and highly-provocative attitude to the world of percussion ensemble music. Regardless of your political convictions, The McCormick Percussion Group’s raw, blistering performances are sure to stir up a revolutionary fervor in you.

 

 

Release Date: July 10, 2020

Catalog #: RR8037

Format: Physical & Digital

 

 

© RAVELLO RECORDS LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

Ravello Records is the contemporary classical label imprint of audio production house PARMA Recordings. Dedicated to highlighting forward thinking composers and musicians from around the world, the New England-based label's eclectic catalog offers listeners a cross-section of today's up-and-coming innovators in orchestral, chamber, and experimental music.

 

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