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McCabe has ploughed a fairly lonely furrow -- a tentatively post-lyrical composer in an otherwise aggressively anti-lyrical half century, and one, moreover, with both an extra-musical imagination and a gift for communication that became deeply unfashionable. Rawsthorne -- in so many ways the missing link in the history of 20th century British music -- still waits for something like his proper due. Peter Sheppard Skærved's advocacy of both composers on this disc is persuasive. Rawsthorne's Sonata for Violin and Piano (1959) is so refreshingly free from an insular Englishness and so involving for players and listeners alike that you wonder why we don't hear it far more often [listen -- track 2, 0:00-0:51] -- which explains perhaps the limbo into which Rawsthorne tended to fall: his music needs several listenings for it to make its mark; the occasional airing is better than nothing but such considered, baubleless music needs time and repeated hearings for it to mature.

If this is true of the Sonata, it is even more true of the Theme and Variations for Two Violins where the shyness of the theme and the fertility and wit of the variations will largely elude the casual listener but richly reward the attentive [listen -- track 11, 0:00-1:04].

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Copyright © 17 March 2002 Peter Dale, Danbury, Essex, UK

 

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CD INFORMATION - METIER MSV CD92029

PURCHASE THIS DISC FROM AMAZON

BUY McCABE'S BOOK ABOUT RAWSTHORNE FROM AMAZON

THE ALAN RAWSTHORNE SOCIETY

THE JOHN McCABE WEBSITE

 

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