Magazine article Musical Opinion

John McCabe's 70th Birthday Concert

Magazine article Musical Opinion

John McCabe's 70th Birthday Concert

Article excerpt

John McCabe is one of this country's leading composers so his 70th birthday should be a time for great celebration for the huge body of work he has given us. This intimate concert, given at the Cadogan Hall, was most welcome, for it showed us several sides to this multifaceted man.

Starting with McCabe him self playing Haydn's Variations in F Minor, and showing the poetry, and almost Schubertian tragedy, in much of the writing, he was subsequently joined by the Sacconi Quartet for a performance of his own The Women by the Sea - a thorny piece, which doesn't give away its secrets easily. Based on an episode from Kenji Mizoguchi's film Sansho Dayu, this was music of longing, sorrow and passion. It was an uncomfortable listen for so dense is its construction; much is made from very little material, but what material there is is essential. This work needs further hearings for us to fully understand the musical argument. This was a fine performance and the Sacconis followed it with a radiant performance of Haydn's Quartet in D, op.76/5. What impressed here was that for such a young Quartet - formed as recently as 2001 - the players fully understand the great man's work and what he was after. Watch them.

After the interval it was almost all McCabe with the King's Singers giving a handful of Elizabethan works separating three by our birthday boy. Cartography is a light piece, held together by a Latin refrain. It started life as a Proms commission but at that time McCabe only set three of Jo Shapcott's poems. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.