John McCabe - composer and pianist

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John McCabe 70th Birthday Concert at London's Cadogan Hall

John McCabe 70th Birthday Concert at London's Cadogan Hall

John McCabe 70th Birthday Concert
at London's Cadogan Hall

Thursday 24th September 2009 at 7.30 pm

On Thursday 24th September 2009, at 7.30 pm,  The King's Singers and the Sacconi String Quartet joined John McCabe to celebrate his 70th Birthday year.

The programme reflects not only his own music, but his interest in other music, in this case Haydn (a piano work and a string quartet) and the music of Byrd and Tallis.

John McCabe and The King's Singers have worked together on many occasions over the years, starting with their commission Scenes in America deserta (1986), which they first performed at Interlaken and then Tanglewood in the USA. Since then, they have performed the work many times and recorded it in two CD albums: Landscape and Time (Signum Classics SIGCD090) and, also on Signum Classics, a disc of their late-night BBC Henry Wood Promenade Concert from August 2008.

They also premièred his work Cartography (a longer version of From 'Cartography' commissioned for the Proms in 2002) and recorded his little carol To us in Bethlem City (on the CD the King's Singers Christmas, Signum Classics). This birthday concert included the première of The Lily-white Rose, a version specially written for the King's Singers of one of the movements from his half-hour work for soloists, chorus and instruments Songs of the Garden – a new fully orchestrated version of the complete work was premièred at the Hereford Three Choirs Festival in August 2009.

The Sacconi String Quartet are more recent friends and colleagues, giving a number of performances with the composer of his work for piano and string quartet The Woman by the Sea, inspired by the Japanese film Sansho Dayu, directed by Kenji Mizoguchi. Their performances include Music at Cratfield and the Petworth Festival (both in July 2009) and several later in the year. The Sacconi Quartet also played Haydn's String Quartet in D, Op 76 No 5, a work particularly close to McCabe's heart.

John McCabe performed Haydn's F minor Variations for piano. Since he is retiring from regular concert work at the end of August 2010, this is likely to be his final keyboard performance in standard repertoire in London.

Programme: First half: John McCabe / The Sacconi Quartet
Variations in F minor for piano
The Woman by the Sea for piano and string quartet
String Quartet in D, Op 76 No 5

Second half: The King's Singers
As Vesta was from Latmos Hill
Te lucis ante terminum I
The Lily-white Rose
[world première]
Te lucis ante terminum II
Civitas sancti tui
Scenes in America deserta
Tickets: £22, £17, £12 from Cadogan Hall, 5 Sloane Terrace, London SW1H 9DQ.
Box Office: 020 7730 4500 
Cadogan Hall website: