• John McCabe
  • Two Scenes from 'Edward II' (1995)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Port Fairy Festival, Australia

  • 2 pianos
  • 11 min

Programme Note


These two pieces are taken from the score Edward II, the full-length ballet with choreography by David Bintley commissioned by the Stuttgart Ballet and written in 1994/5. The ballet's first performance took place in Stuttgart in April 1995, and this two-piano version of two scenes from it was written the same year, to a commission from the Port Fairy Festival in Australia. It is dedicated to Len Vorster, with whom the composer gave the première at the Festival in October 1995.

The ballet's origins are in the play by Christopher Marlowe, and the two scenes rewritten for two pianos, and played without a real break, are contrasted in mood. The first, from Act Two, is a set of dances performed at the French Court, somewhat pastiche in style and one of the few lighter moments of the score. This is followed by a reminder of the essential darkness of the work, and its portrayal of the lust for power, in the scene from Act One in which the Barons opposed to Edward unite to express their anger at his behaviour and their determination to dominate and (ultimately) to overthrow him. The two scenes last about 6 minutes and 4 minutes respectively.

© Copyright 1995 by John McCabe


2 Scenes from "Edward II": No. 1, The French Court
2 Scenes from "Edward II": No. 2, The Barons