A new work by John McCabe, commissioned by the BBC for the 2013 Henry Wood Promenade Concerts, received its first performance on 25 July 2013.
Joybox, as the composer writes in his programme note, is a musical souvenir of his trip to Japan a few years back. Whilst in Osaka, listening with amazement to an 'entertainment centre' full of slot machines (one-armed bandits) playing widely different musical jingles, all going on simultaneously but independently, McCabe eventually perceived a kind of musical structural pattern to the babel of noise, which gave him the idea for an 'entertainment' piece.
'I was certainly entertained by the noise emanating from the 'entertainment centre', writes McCabe. 'Unlike those of the original, however, my patterns are constantly changing as well as coming together in different ways.'
McCabe's seven-minute Joybox sprang into action at London's Royal Albert Hall last week, interpreted by the BBC Philharmonic with Juanjo Mena at the helm and the composer in the audience. The critic from The Times wrote that 'McCabe concocts an improbable seven-minute coherence out of a blip-blitz of cartoonish mini-themes. Not a dull second.'
Also on the orchestra's programme, Beethoven 7, de Falla's The Three-Cornered Hat (with flamenco dancers) and Ravel's Boléro. The concert came with the BBC's usual cocktail of broadcast, webcast and online catch-up, plus it was recorded for television and broadcast via BBC4 on 2 August 2013.
If you're in the UK, there's more McCabe on offer through the summer and beyond. Summer eves (String Quartet No 7) receives two performances by the Carducci Quartet: as part of Music at Cratfield (St Mary's Church, Cratfield, Suffolk UK at 3pm on Sunday 8 September 2013), and at a Sittingbourne Music Society concert at 7.45pm on Friday 11 October 2013.
Looking ahead to two Saturdays in 2014, there's a chance to hear two works for trumpet: McCabe's Trumpet Concerto - Primavera - will be given a performance by the Surrey Mozart Players on 1 February, and Fire at Durilgai appears at the start of the BBC Philharmonic's Bridgewater Hall Manchester concert on the evening of 5 April. Full details of all these concerts and more information about McCabe is available via the link below.
Posted: 1 August 2013
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