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Tamami Honma is one of those rare performers whose ability to see into and through a live composer's 'signals' has brought about a recording of McCabe's work to which he, as a performer himself, gives the highest praise. Apart from the first recording of Tenebrae, completed in 1993, there are fine performances of the 1963 Variations and the fascinating Intermezzi, five brief impressions the fourth of which recalls Bartók [listen -- track 2, 4:47-5:42].

Of the on-going series of Studies, in which McCabe's interest seems to have revived after thirty years (1, 2 and 4 on this disc date from 1969/70) Evening Harmonies, No 7 (2001), a hommage to Dukas, is a ravishingly evocative piece, and No 8 called Scrunch, a hommage to Domenico Scarlatti, was specially written for the most deserving Tamami Honma [listen -- track 7, 0.00-0.54]. This is an essential recording for all British music enthusiasts, and one that will give refreshing pleasure to everyone who values the clear thinking, communicative and colourful work of John McCabe.

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Copyright © 28 January 2004 Patric Standford, Wakefield UK


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