Reconnection

Reviewed on Wed 29 Jun, 2016

McGinley plays with a measured incisiveness lit up by precisely delineated poetry. It’s her impeccable phrasing – daring to linger that second longer on a note – that catches the ear in Rachmaninov’s Vocalise.

Reconnection finds former BBC Young Musician of the Year piano winner Ruth McGinley returning to the fray after a troubled professional period. As much a personal statement as a declaration of creative intent, the repertoire ranges from Rachmaninov to Arvo Pärt, Gershwin to Philip Glass and, more surprisingly, to Hollywood, Tin Pan Alley and Randy Newman. The acoustic of Belfast’s Rosemary Street Church lends a luminous bloom that occasionally overstays its welcome (diluting the necessary crispness of the Opening from Glass’s Glassworks) but adds a sublimely melting quality to Satie’s First and Third Gnossiennes and Debussy’s liquescent Claire de lune. Elsewhere, McGinley plays with a measured incisiveness lit up by precisely delineated poetry. It’s her impeccable phrasing – daring to linger that second longer on a note – that catches the ear in Rachmaninov’s Vocalise, Pärt’s Für Alina and Anthony Weeden’s jazz-inflected arrangement of Chaplin’s bittersweet Smile. Stylistic variety is seamlessly blended throughout in intelligently proportioned playing as sincere as it is supple. More please.
–Michael Quinn