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Rich textures

Chamber music by
John McCabe,
appreciated by

Epoch    CDLX 7125

McCabe Chamber Works - The Fibonacci Sequence. © 2003 Dutton Labs

A dramatic Maestoso opening to the Concerto for Piano and Wind Quintet [listen -- track 1, 0:04-1:08] heralds the start of a fascinating new CD of late twentieth century chamber music by John McCabe. The concerto spotlights each of the instruments, and the movements are all linked together -- a McCabe hallmark.

Musica Notturna depicts the changing moods of a large city at night, with the rich textures of the work's soft opening (returning also at the end) suggesting perhaps a Mediterranean city.

The much-performed Fauvel's Rondeaux is a spin-off from the ballet Edward II (1994-5), and a study in changing character [listen -- track 7, 9:56-11:00] as the corrupting effects of lust and power take hold on Edward's assassins.

Postcards, an expanded reworking of Bagatelles for Two Clarinets (1965) is a set of eight short miniatures for wind quintet, postcards 'sent' not from places, but from various musical genres.

During a long and distinguished career -- he was active as both composer and pianist in the early 1960s and is currently touring Lithuania in the same capacity, having visited Belgium, Japan and the USA in 2002), British musician John McCabe (born 1939) has resisted attempts to be pigeon-holed by the musical world -- for example as an academic, a brass band composer or a ballet composer -- all fields in which he has excelled but doesn't wish to be typecast. This new disc, featuring crisp, lively and sympathetic playing by the Fibonacci Sequence, will surely help this versatile musician to keep all his options open!

Copyright © 3 May 2003 Keith Bramich, Worcestershire, UK


McCabe Chamber Works - The Fibonacci Sequence

CDLX 7125 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE 67'31" 2003 Dutton Laboratories

The Fibonacci Sequence

John McCabe: Concerto for Piano & Wind Quintet (1969); Musica Notturna for Violin, Viola and Piano (1964); Fauvel's Rondeaux for Clarinet, Violin and Piano (1995-6); Postcards for Wind Quintet (1991)



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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular Saturday series of shorter CD reviews