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Scintillating performance

Tamami Honma plays
music by John McCabe -
appreciated by

'... an essential recording for all British music enthusiasts ...'

Tenebrae - piano music by John McCabe performed by Tamami Honma. © 2003 Metier Sound and Vision Ltd

There has been a welcome influx of McCabe on CD, for in addition to the British Music Society's recent issue of the composer's own performances of his Haydn Variations and Mosaics, there is also now this recital by Tamami Honma from Metier, introducing Tenebrae, described by Honma as his 'magnum opus for piano, a monument of twentieth century piano literature'. It is certainly a huge and admirable canvas, inspired by Hermann Broch's epic book The Death of Virgil, written whilst the author was imprisoned under Nazism in 1938, a meditation on death, and further compounded for McCabe by the deaths of three of his close musical friends during the one year, 1992 -- the conductor Sir Charles Groves, and two composers, William Mathias and Stephen Oliver. It is a work to be heard in its full nineteen minute length, and does not lend itself to brief extractions.

Any composer who finds a performer who is really in tune with their creative mind and spirit is fortunate indeed. As McCabe explains lucidly in the CD's notes, the demise of the composer-performer in our times is a severe loss to music, for we are surrounded by the greatest virtuosi whose familiarity is only with dead composers, and yet they are always ready to tell us how composers think and work.

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Copyright © 28 January 2004 Patric Standford, Wakefield UK


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