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Winter Legends

In 1978 John McCabe was the soloist in a BBC broadcast of Arnold Bax's evocative Winter Legends for piano and orchestra, with the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra (now known as the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra) and Raymond Leppard.

Thanks to the devotion of Lyrita's Richard Itter, this performance will become available again from 3 November 2017, on a CD in the Lyrita Broadcast Edition series, in collaboration with the BBC, and sound restored by Nimbus. The CD will also include another rare reissue - Bax's Symphony No 2, played by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Eugene Goossens.

John McCabe had a great love for the music of Bax, and one of his earliest piano recordings, of the Allegretto from Bax's Piano Sonata No 4, is available on BMS 103CDH from the British Music Society.

Since McCabe's death early in 2015, his own music continues to appear on new recordings and to be performed internationally. His Concerto for two violins and string orchestra, Les Martinets Noirs (Swifts), recently received its first performance in Sweden, on 9 August 2017, courtesy of the violin duo Retorica - Harriet Mackenzie and Philippa Mo, as part of the Lidköping Festival. The duo recorded this work with George Vass and Orchestra Nova for Dutton Epoch in 2012 (on CDLX 7290).

On 8 September 2017 pianist Jane Ford's first volume of the Complete Solo Piano Works of John McCabe was issued on Steve Plews of ASC Records' Prima Facie label (PFCD 054), featuring six first recordings. Included in the recital are Three Impromptus (1959), Five Bagatelles, Afternoons and Afterwards. Tunstall Chimes (Study No 10 - Hommage à Ravel), Lamentation Rag and Berceuse (Study No 13, 2011).

Two McCabe works were featured at the Presteigne Festival in August 2017 - March Sonatina for solo flute, played by Katherine Baker, and the 1999 Sonata for Cello and Piano, played by members of the Leonore Trio. The new Hertfordshire Music Festival (9-11 June 2017, run by Tom Hammond and James Francis Brown) featured an evening recital by Clare Hammond, at which she played the Haydn Fantasies for John McCabe, written by seven composers and commissioned by the 2009 Presteigne Festival.


Posted: 27 September 2017

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