mcgrath composer film music cinematique
mcgrath composer film music cinematique
mcgrath composer film music cinematiquemcgrath composer film music cinematiquemcgrath composer film music cinematique
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mcgrath composer film music cinematique


FLUTE CONCERTO (2006) flute, harp and string orchestra
I Introduction and Gigue (listen now)
II Slow Blues (listen now)
III Vivo; Habenera (listen now)

SUITE FOR STRINGS (2005) string orchestra
I Marcato (listen now)
II Mouvement de Valse Modéré (listen now)
III Scherzando (listen now)

SILENT TOWN (2004) trumpet, harp and string orchestra
I Adagio (listen now)
II Animato (listen now)

I Hannah’s Dance (listen now)
II Pastorale (listen now)
III Andante Misterioso (listen now)
IV Veloce (listen now)

CONCERTINO FOR CELLO (2013) solo cello and orchestra
I Moderato (listen now)
II Adagio
III Allegretto (listen now)

SUITE NO. 2 (2012) chamber orchestra
I Vivace (listen now)
II Slowly; Fast
III Andante

SERENADE FOR CLARINET AND WINDS (2015) solo clarinet, double winds, 2 horns


DIVERTISSEMENT (2009) trumpet and harp

SUITE BRILLIANTE (2008) arrangement of the Flute Concerto for flute and piano

FANTASIA on TWO NEWFOUNDLAND SONGS (2004) solo horn and orchestra

TANGO (2004) brass quintet and orchestra

TROIS HOMMAGES (2003) brass quintet

HOLLYWOOD NOCTURNE (2002) narrator, trumpet and orchestra
text and narrator: David Baxter (listen now)

I Toccata (listen now)
II Adagio (listen now)
III Tempo di tango

Parts and Scores available for rent or purchase at the Canadian Music Centre.
CMC Associate Composer page: Canadian Music Centre

mcgrath composer film music cinematiqueCinématique is a collection of Jim McGrath's concert music from the past several years.It was recorded in Montreal with the Montreal Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Wanda Kaluzny and features Leslie Newman, flute and Larry Larson, trumpet.

In the words of the composer: "This CD reflects my love of 20th century classical music and other influences from the pop and film music worlds, from Copland, Bartok and Prokofiev to George Martin, Bernard Herrmann and Lalo Shiffrin."

Also included is a piece recorded in Toronto with clarinetist Joaquin Valdepeñas and a studio string ensemble, conducted by the composer.

The CD is available on itunes
or may be purchased online at:,
Canadian Music Centre site or Montreal Chamber Orchestra site

Program notes

The Flute Concerto received its premiere with the MCO on October 12, 2006. It was written for flautist Leslie Newman and runs the gamut from a moody, harp-driven nocturne in the first movement to a bluesy, Gershwin-inspired second movement to an arch habenera and cascading cadenza in the third.

Suite for Strings was written for the MCO over the spring and summer of 2005. In each of the three movements I tried to explore a particular quality of the string orchestra.

The first movement features its driving, percussive side, inspired in equal parts by Bela Bartok and George Martin.

The second movement, a moderate waltz, explores the lyrical, delicate side of the string orchestra, as well as its playful, whimsical side: Satie meets the Wizard of Oz.

The third and final movement is a slightly demented scherzo with a nod to Bernard Herrmann and explores the dancing, sprightly, exotic side of the string section. Intentionally cinematic in tone, the piece ends with a cartwheeling unison line scored for the entire ensemble.

Silent Town was originally composed for Larry Larson, principal trumpet of the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony in 2001 as a single movement only. A second movement was added a year later and was premiered in February, 2004.

The title is an homage to one of my favourite composers, Aaron Copland, and his work for trumpet, English horn and strings called Quiet City. One of the qualities I have always admired about Copland is his ability to combine the profound with the accessible; he was never afraid of writing something unabashedly beautiful, even though he was certainly capable of being as dissonant and aggressive as any other 20th century composer.

With Silent Town, I have tried simply to do the former: write something beautiful for trumpet, the instrument I started my professional career with, and string orchestra, an ensemble that continues to bewitch me with endless possibilities of colour and expression.

The first movement of Suite for Clarinet and String Orchestra, Hannah's Dance, is a lilting waltz and was inspired by the theme to the CBC radio show Music for a While. It is named after my youngest daughter, a fine dancer.

The following three movements include a Satie-esque Pastorale and a sneaky Andante Misterioso and Hoedown. The piece ends with a whirlwind Vivace that was adapted for an episode of CBC's The Nature of Things about bees.

This piece was written in celebration of the Montreal Chamber Orchestra's 40th season and is dedicated to my wife, Anita, an enthusiastic amatuer cellist.

The first movement begins, after a brief introduction, with a Bach-inspired arpeggiated passage for solo cello and then is joined by a piccolo trumpet (I was a professional trumpet player in a former life...) The general feeling is meant to be celebratory, joyous and youthful.

The second movement begins with a more somber, elegiac approach, a reflection on mortality and the possibility of loss, and then is followed by a spirited, Russian-influenced dance, a nod to Anita's father's Eastern European heritage.

In the third and final movement, after a short solo pizzicato section, the cello plays a sinuous, seductive tune that undergoes a number of variations, followed by a cadenza where the opening movement's theme is reiterated and then joined by the full orchestra for a big rousing finale.