McCabe Update

McCabe Update
© Peter Thompson
John McCabe rings in the New Year with three (count ’em!) world premieres — Symphony on a Pavane, the choral work Cartography, and a new Horn Concerto.

The London Philharmonic commissioned Symphony on a Pavane, inspired by the “Fifth Pavane and Galliard” from William Byrd’s My Lady Nevell’s Book, a concert piece that McCabe has performed many times. “I often draw on my pianistic repertoire for inspiration,” he explains, “and I find audiences like it very much…the gravity, directness and subtlety of the music just fascinated me, and the overall shape of it…[it] gave me a lot of melodic ideas to explore in the piece, as well as one or two rhythmic clicks…”

Commissioned by the BBC and the King’s Singers in honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee, the madrigal Cartography features poetry by Jo Shapcott whose texts reflect on life, journeying, landscape, and memory. The work is part of “The Oriana Collection,” which McCabe describes as “a modern counterpart to the 1603 ‘The Triumphs of Oriana’ — a magnificent collection of madrigals assembled in honor of Queen Elizabeth I.”

Cardiff is the setting for the composer’s five-movement Horn Concerto, as soloist David Pyatt joins conductor Taddaki Otaka and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. “The inspiration for the work,” McCabe explains, “came from two elements: the sound of the jazz horn in the 1950s and 60s, especially in West Coast jazz (like Gil Evans), and the contemplation of the rainforest world with which the music seems to start.”
  • Symphony on a Pavane   21'
    London Philharmonic/Sloane
    10 January 2007; London, England
  • Cartography   9'
    King’s Singers
    26 January 2007; Kent, England
  • Horn Concerto   24'
    Horn; 2(pic).21+bcl/2221/timp.perc/hp/str
    David Pyatt, horn; BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Otaka
    16 February 2007; Cardiff, Wales