Second Childhood

Second Childhood

Kinderszenen aus Northfield?
Bruce Stark
Gregory Hutter
Kirsten Broberg
John Halle
Daniel Nass
Laura Caviani
Matthew McCright
Catalog Number: 
new classical

Northfield, MN

Release Date: 
Dec 11, 2011
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
One Sheet: 

Remember when you struggled through your weekly piano lesson, chipping away at frustration and the Classics? Schumann, Debussy, Bartok, Scott Joplin, John Thompson? And then your teacher slid over on the piano bench and played it like it was meant to go: both hands together, with feeling, easy fingering, all the repeats…? And you glimpsed what music really was? 

Now recapture that sense of awe as a grown-up with this collection of new solo piano works that share an affectionate glance over the shoulder at those innocent and turbulent times. Now you can hear rags, etudes, lullabies, jaunty jazz licks, gamelan, vaudeville, and impressionistic scenes: Angst-free. 

The fingers and mind behind Second Childhood belong to Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota, piano professor, Matthew McCright. He is known for his dedication to contemporary music by composers such as Pauline Oliveros, Terry Riley, Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe and Mark Anthony Turnage among many others. 

For Second Childhood, composers John Halle, Bruce Stark, Kirsten Broberg, Dan Nass, Greg Hutter, and Laura Caviani take us on a kaleidoscopic journey through these shared, crayon-colorful, fragmentary memories. This is music you could have made if you had stuck with it. For the rest of us we can sit back, forget the midlife crisis, and listen with wonder. 


Pianist Matthew McCright’s recital disc on the Innova imprint has been given a cute but apt ‘in house’ descriptor: “Kinderszenen aus Northfield.” Indeed, the Carleton College professor and new music advocate has assembled a disc of new works which simultaneously channel and elevate the “music for childhood/music about childhood” genre. 

For those who’ve slaved through dull character pieces and rhythmically inert etudes during childhood piano lessons, several of the pieces on Misplaced Childhood will no doubt repair these memories. Indeed, the disc replaces them with the type of fare one wishes was in the folders – and practice routines – of more students today. Namely, the composers featured here are able to evoke childhood and, often, to write with student performers in mind, while never ‘writing down’ to young musicians. One is particularly charmed by the dance compositions of Daniel Nas and Laura Caviani; both have written suites filled with jazzy character pieces which seem readymade for the student recital stage. John Halle’s “Lullaby” and “Misplaced Childhood” are both lithely evocative standouts as well. 

McCright’s detailed and engaging renditions amply demonstrate that pieces for intermediate performers, as well as those for advanced pianists who are channeling memories of childhood, can still make for interesting listening and prove themselves of considerable substance.

- Christian Carey, Sequenza 21