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John McCabe (1939-2015)

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McCabe, J: Edward II

McCabe, J: Edward II

ballet in 2 acts


“A gripping score. This exciting recording of such a rich creation brings the atmosphere of the stage leaping out of the speakers” Birmingham Post

“Commissioned by the Stuttgart Ballet, choreographed by David Bintley, Edward II is McCabe's third ballet score, and draws its story-line from Christopher Marlowe's eponymous drama and the medieval courtly satire, Le roman de Fauvel.
Quite apart from the meaty intrigue, complex character relationships and psychological pathos of the plot, McCabe's music communicates with a captivating expressive fervour. It isn't just the superbly judged orchestration (colourful extras include triple woodwind and electric guitar) and wealth of memorable invention that impress.
Above all, it's his ability to forge his tightly knit material into a dramatically convincing and organically coherent whole that marks him out as a composer of exceptional gifts. No praise can be too high for Barry Wordsworth's fluent, pungently theatrical direction, not to mention the unstinting application of the excellent Royal Ballet Sinfonia. The excitingly truthful sound allies razor-sharp focus to a most pleasing bloom, too.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

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Hyperion - CDA67135/6

(CD - 2 discs)

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McCabe, J: String Quartets Nos. 3, 4 & 5

McCabe, J: String Quartets Nos. 3, 4 & 5


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Hyperion - CDA67078

(CD)

Normally: $15.00

Special: $12.00

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English Violin Duos

English Violin Duos


Aitchison:

Syruw

Croft:

Sonata for 2 violins

Matthews, D:

Duos (8)

McCabe, J:

Spielend

Moeran:

Sonata in A major for 2 violins

Rawsthorne:

Theme and Variations for Two Violins


Retorica: Philippa Mo & Harriet Mackenzie (violins)

Philippa and Harriet met at the Royal Academy of Music, London and discovered a shared passion for contemporary music as well as the wealth of rarely heard repertoire for two violins.

“Harriet Mackenzie and Philippa Mo are both exceptional violinists; together they have an instinctive rapport which makes them one of the most exciting duos around” David Matthews, composer

“Bach and other composers show how much can be done with a solo violin, so it is no surprise that the violin duo, seemingly a convenience of the instrumental lesson, can yield the riches vividly displayed by Retorica...best of all is Theme and Variations (1937), by Alan Rawsthorne, a hidden-away but patent little masterpiece.” Sunday Times, 12th August 2012

“There’s little that connects the works collected on this disc other than their scoring and the composers’ nationality. Which doesn’t matter a jot – the stylistic range is accordingly huge...Performances are uniformly excellent.” The Arts Desk, 16th February 2013

“Both of these works [the Moeran and the Rawsthorne] benefit, as does the recital as a whole, from superbly responsive playing by Harriet Mackenzie and Philippa Mo - who project the music's often intricate contrapuntal interweaving with faultless technique and unfailing insight.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - April 2013

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NMC - NMCD182

(CD)

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From Sonnets to Jazz

From Sonnets to Jazz


Fletcher, P:

An Epic Symphony

McCabe, J:

Salamander

Snell, H:

Fantasy for cornet and brass band

Wilby:

Unholy Sonnets (4)

Symphonic Dances

Wilson, T:

Refrains and Cadenzas


Grimethorpe Colliery Band, Major Peter Parkes

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Chandos Brass - CHAN4549

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Into the Ravine

Into the Ravine


Berkeley, M:

Oboe Quintet 'Into the Ravine'

Nicholas Daniel (oboe)

McCabe, J:

Quartet No. 7 'Summer Eves'

Williams, Adrian:

Quartet No. 4


This first release on Signum from one of the UK’s most dynamic string quartets, the Carducci Quartet, demonstrates their commitment to contemporary repertoire. They join forces with oboist Nicholas Daniel for three world premieres, all written specially for them and all premiered at the Presteigne Festival: Michael Berkeley's Oboe Quintet, ‘Into the Ravine’, John McCabe's Quartet No. 7, 'Summer Eves', and Adrian Williams' Quartet No.4.

“The Carducci give superbly vivid and thoroughly prepared performances that catch the varied expressive characters of each work, combining with Nicholas Daniel to great effect. Signum's sound is excellent.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2014

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Signum - SIGCD350

(CD)

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John McCabe: Composer, Pianist, Conductor

John McCabe: Composer, Pianist, Conductor


McCabe, J:

Symphony No. 1 ‘Elegy’

London Philharmonic Orchestra, John Snashall

Capriccio (Study No. 1)

John McCabe (piano)

Sostenuto (Study No. 2)

John McCabe (piano)

Tuning

National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, John McCabe

Fantasy on a Theme of Liszt

John McCabe (piano)


This collection brings together several significant recordings of the music of John McCabe, none of which has appeared before on CD. The First Symphony, heard here in its only recording to date, is a work of striking emotional directness and explosive energy. The Fantasy on a Theme of Liszt was described by Harold Truscott as ‘wonderfully organic… a concert piece which should interest any pianist worth his salt’. Scored for very large orchestra, Tuning develops layers of texture and sonority of overwhelming richness. This is the only recording of John McCabe as conductor.

It joins our recent release of McCabe’s choral music, Visions (8573053) was described by BBC Music Magazine as “raptly atmospheric and consummately crafted”, and provides insights into the wide variety of character McCabe’s music has communicated over the years, embracing the importance of his solo piano music and contrasting the focused intensity of the First Symphony against the improvisatory fields of sound which emerge from Tuning. This performance of Tuning was regarded by critic Kenneth Walton as “quite remarkable… [and played with] all-out commitment, consummate skill (especially the wind section of which the bassoons must be the envy of many a professional orchestra), and not a little enjoyment.”

“McCabe’s quick inventiveness [in the Symphony] takes him well beyond the derivative. The youth-orchestral Tuning (1985) is also impressive.” Sunday Times, 21st December 2014

“The late John McCabe's superbly articulated piano-playing in his Liszt Fantasy makes the strongest impression. His maverick streak is evident in Tuning, a wry take on the tuning-up process.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2015 ***

“here is a near-perfect introduction to McCabe's diversity but focused on his most important role - the composer” Gramophone Magazine, May 2015

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Naxos - 8571370

(CD)

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John McCabe: Farewell Recital

John McCabe: Farewell Recital

Presteigne Festival, August 2010


Bridge:

Heart's Ease

Casken:

The Haunting Bough

first recording

Howard, Emily:

Sky and Water

first recording

McCabe, J:

Tenebrae

Ravel:

Valses nobles et sentimentales

Schubert:

Piano Sonata No. 14 in A minor, D784


John McCabe (piano)

John McCabe has had one of the most distinguished and diverse careers in British music, as a pianist, composer, writer and educator.

His unusually wide sympathies as a performer cover music from the Elizabethan era to the present day, with landmark recordings of Haydn (the complete piano sonatas) and Nielsen.

The works presented on this CD, carefully chosen by McCabe for his last public recital, given at the Presteigne Festival last August, include music by Schubert and Ravel as well as a work of his own and two pieces by younger contemporaries.

The two new works – by John Casken and Emily Howard – are first recordings. The CD also contains the first recording of the substantial Tenebrae by the composer himself.

This CD is being launched during this year’s Presteigne Festival and will be released nationally shortly afterwards.

John McCabe was born in Liverpool on 21 April 1939 to a family of Irish-Scottish and German-Finnish descent, although his outlook has always remained decidedly English.

His output includes nine symphonies and a substantial body of music for his own instrument, the piano.

“A sense of occasion permeates this recital...Some technical mishaps, but impeccable musicianship.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2012 ****

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Toccata Classics - TOCC0139

(CD)

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John McCabe: Of Time and the River

John McCabe: Of Time and the River


McCabe, J:

Symphony No. 4 'Of Time and the River'

Concerto for Flute and Orchestra


“John McCabe's Fourth Symphony, some half an hour in duration, has something Sibelian about its utterly inevitable, ever-evolving progress. Behind the frequently prodigal surface activity, one is acutely aware of the inexorable tread of a grander scheme – a preoccupation with time mirrored in Thomas Wolfe's novel Of Time and the River, from which the work derives its subtitle. The very opening idea is momentarily reminiscent of Britten, and there's a magnificent passage in the second movement that recalls Vaughan Williams at his visionary best. Yet McCabe's score possesses a strong individuality, formal elegance and abundant integrity too. With dedication and scrupulous perception, Handley secures a disciplined and alert response from the BBC SO. The engaging Flute Concerto composed for James Galway in 1989-90 proves both resourceful and communicative.
There's much that genuinely haunts here, not least the gently lapping opening idea (inspired by watching the play of waves on a Cornish beach), the ravishing dialogue between the soloist and orchestral flutes and the delightful emergence soon afterwards of an entrancingly naive, folk-like theme. Emily Beynon gives a flawless account of the demanding solo part, and is immaculately partnered by Handley and his BBC forces.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“[The Symphony] is a magnificent work in two substantial movements - fast to slow, then slow to fast. The idiom is warmer and more approachable than in his earlier music, echoing in its atmospheric orchestration and some of the melodic lines Britten on the one hand and Sibelius on the other...Superb performances” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

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Hyperion - CDA67089

(CD)

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Special: $12.00

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John McCabe: Piano Music

John McCabe: Piano Music


McCabe, J:

Variations

Aubade (Study No. 4)

Gaudi (Study No. 3)

Bagatelles

Mosaic (Study No. 6)

World Première Recording

Haydn Variations

World Première Recording


John McCabe (piano)

John McCabe was a composer-pianist who excelled internationally in both fields. For his own instrument he wrote a distinguished series of works in which variation form is a recurrent feature. Seventeen years separate the Variations, Op. 22, described by John Ogdon as standing “closer to Rachmaninov’s use of variation technique than to Brahms’s”, and the masterly, unorthodox and original Haydn Variations, McCabe’s longest solo piano work. The evocative Bagatelles and Studies are notable for their unceasing exploration of pianistic and compositional techniques.

“This British composer-pianist was both admired and promoted by John Ogdon, and here we see why: his music was intriguing, intricately-woven and, though, largely atonal, easy on the ear.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2016 ****

“These last, amenable demonstrations of the 12-tone technique have a positively Webernian compression, each little movement memorably etched. The plain-titled Variations is an admirably sinewy, energetic essay, distilling the influence of Messiaen.” Sunday Times, 2nd August 2015

“John McCabe was a musician of steely, graceful intellect. As both pianist and composer he could distil huge ideas into finely-sculpted gestures...What’s wonderful about listening to McCabe play his own music is trying to work out where composer ended and pianist began, then realising it was all one and the same.” The Guardian, 13th August 2015 *****

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Naxos - 8571367

(CD)

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John McCabe: Visions

John McCabe: Visions

Choral Music


McCabe, J:

Three Marian Carols

Mangan Triptych

Amen/Alleluia

Proud Songsters

The Lily-White Rose

The Morning Watch

Iain Farrington (organ)

The Evening Watch

Iain Farrington (organ)

Great Lord of Lords

Iain Farrington (organ)

A Hymne to God the Father

The Last and Greatest Herald

Iain Farrington (organ)


The distinguished composer and pianist John McCabe has written in almost every genre, and has long been one of Britain’s leading musicians. In his choral music he has taken a variety of texts – including anonymous sixteenth-century Latin, and the poems of Henry Vaughan and Thomas Hardy – and fashioned them into powerful settings. He evokes a rich variety of vocal colours and textures, remaining at all times communicative and vital, not least in the beautiful Marian Carols and the contrasting riches of the Mangan Triptych.

“McCabe writes that he composes carols 'as relaxation from sterner stuff'. It is classy relaxation...[I Sing of a Maiden] is raptly atmospheric and consummately crafted, while the writing for solo soprano in Dormi, Jesu! is alluring. The 'sterner stuff' comes in Mangan Triptych...It's demanding listening, made easier by the superlative performances of the BBC Singers.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2013 *****

Contemporary Music - up to 25% off

Naxos - 8573053

(CD)

Normally: $8.75

Special: $7.43

(also available to download from $7.00)

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)

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