John McCabe - composer and pianist

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Recordings of McCabe Compositions Well Received

Recordings of McCabe Compositions Well Received

Recordings of McCabe Compositions Well Received

During 2001 and 2002, various recordings of music by John McCabe were released, to critical acclaim. The recordings are :

  • Clarinet Concerto (1977), played by Janet Hilton with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ramon Gamba (an album entitled Dedications - Clarinet Classics CC0034) [listen to an extract]
  • Maze Dances (1973) for solo violin and Star-Preludes (1978) for violin and piano, performed by Peter Sheppard Skærved (violin) and Tamami Honma (piano) on Metier MSV CD92029.
  • Concerto for Orchestra (1982), performed by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Douglas Bostock on Classico CLASSCD 384 (an album of concertos for orchestra). [listen to an extract]. The CD also includes Gregson, Hoddinott and McCabe in conversation with Lewis Foreman.
  • Two Dances from "Mary, Queen of Scots" (1977) performed by the Northern Chamber Orchestra directed by Nicholas Ward on ASC CS CD45 (an album entitled Manchester Accents).


Clarinet Concerto
"Cast in four interlinked movements and scored for small orchestra, it's a marvellously invigorating, always purposeful creation, full of the most engaging interplay between the soloist and her orchestral colleagues ... Janet Hilton plays with a characterful skill and unstinting dedication throughout; Rumon Gamba and the BBC Scottish SO provide ideal support."

Andrew Achenbach (Gramophone, January 2002)


Maze Dances/Star-Preludes
"The music of John McCabe (himself a long-time champion and biographer of Rawsthorne) makes an ideal coupling ... Maze Dances ... is in effect a kind of modern day manifestation of the Zigeuner-style - an intense narrative fantasy, brilliantly performed here by Skærved, that grips the listener from first note to last."

Michael Stewart (Gramophone, January 2002)

"[Rawsthorne's Violin Sonata is] a work which John McCabe admires for its economy of means and wealth of detail, and those phrases could well describe his own music ... [Maze Dances has] an underlying tightness of construction in the way that a small amount of musical material is mined and varied to create a 16-minute span. That skill is even more evident in Star Preludes, a tougher piece, but one which inspires terrific virtuosity from the performers."

SOUND *****

Martin Cotton (BBC Music Magazine, October 2001)

Read a complete review of this disc at Music & Vision


Concerto for Orchestra
"... it is one of McCabe's most important scores ... The quiet, but still fast-pulsing, ending is magical ... this new CD is outstandingly well conducted and brilliantly played throughout. The recordings are excellent. This important CD deserves every success."

Robert Matthew-Walker (International Record Review, May 2002)