In a special concert dedicated to pianist Myra Hess, and in memory of her courage and energy during World War II and especially the Blitz, John McCabe's work Upon entering a Painting was given a stunning performance at the National Gallery on November 24th 2016 at 1pm, by the piano duo Joseph Tong and Waka Hasegawa. Dame Myra Hess, against incredible odds, arranged concerts in the National Gallery every day of the week throughout the war, the first concert taking place on October 10th 1939.
The starting-point of the concert, which was organised by John Woolf and the Park Lane Group, was the McCabe work, which was inspired by an exhibition of paintings by Rothko. Both McCabe, and the two pianists, were Park Lane Group Young Artists in their time. The magnificently played concert attracted a large audience, and apart from the McCabe work, the programme included Schumann's Pictures from the East, Bizet's Jeux d'enfants (5 movements), Schubert's Fantasy in F minor, and Ravel's La Valse, arranged for piano duo by Lucien Garban. McCabe wrote of his work 'the inspiration of the piece was the kind of painting which, as you gaze at it, seems to draw the onlooker into the frame, indeed into the very paint itself'.