By John McCabe
This is the first comprehensive study of the life and music of Alan Rawsthorne (1905-71), one of the leading British composers of the twentieth century. Rawsthorne came from the same generation of composers as Britten, Walton, Tippett, and Constant Lambert. Since his death in 1971 his music, after a period of comparative neglect, is currently enjoying a revival in performance and recording. The composer and pianist John McCabe here brings a lifetime's knowledge of the man and his music to a vivid portrait of Rawsthorne's life, drawing on conversations with his family, friends, and colleagues as well as contemporary documentation. Almost every one of his works is discussed, many of them in detail, demonstrating the versatility and range of Rawsthorne's vision, from popular works, such as Street Corner and the piano concertos, to the remarkable power of his lesser-known later works. In particular McCabe draws attention to the astonishing renewal of Rawsthorne's creative enery during his later period, and the immense broadening of his emotional and technical horizons leading to such masterpieces as the Third Symphony and Carmen Vitale. He makes a powerful case for a thorough reassessment of Rawsthorne's oeuvre. A complimentary CD provides the reader with a representative sample of Rawsthorne's music.