• John McCabe
  • Five Bagatelles for Piano (1964)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)
  • piano
  • 5 min

Programme Note


These short pieces were written in response to a commissioned from the late Robert Elkin, who wanted a work to give to students an opportunity of learning some serial music and getting to know something about serial technique, yet which would not be very difficult to play.

The serial technique used in the Bagatelles is fairly elementary, and in each piece the structure is simple. The titles give the character of each movement. Some use is made of palindromic forms (as well as the mirror-writing one normally finds in serial music): in the Capriccio, for instance, the second half is the first half backwards. This piece also uses a metrical scheme of alternating five and seven quavers to the bar.