• John McCabe
  • Postcards (1991)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Vega Wind Quintet with financial assistance from Yorkshire Arts

  • fl.ob.cl.bnhn
  • 15 min

Programme Note

Con fuoco, ma non troppo allegro
Allegro giocoso
Fugato (Allegro marcato)
Bossa Nova (Allegretto soave)
Crescendo (Presto possibile e ritmico)

Postcards is a reworking for wind quintet of a set of eight Bagatelles for two clarinets written in 1965 - the idea of thoroughly rewriting this work in this way had been in my mind for some time, to produce a set of miniatures for wind quintet, and the opportunity came with this commissioned from the Vega Quintet, with the aid in part of funds provided by Yorkshire Arts.

This is not simply an arrangement - only one movement (the Bossa Nova) falls into this category. For the rest, the music has been recomposed, to varying extents - some movements are virtually the same length but considerably altered, while others are longer by more than 50 per cent. The basic material, of course, remains the same, but the opportunity has been taken to decorate, elaborate and expand, turning it into a more substantial set of pieces.

The title was chosen to switch the emphasis from simply a set of Bagatelles to something more indicative of the nature of the pieces, which are in a sense brief postcards from different genres (fugato, dance, nocturnal pieces, and so on). The final Fantasy develops references to several of the previous movements and acts almost as a latter-day Quodlibet. The work is dedicated to the Vega Wind Quintet, who gave the first performance at the 1991 Huddersfield Festival.

© 1991 John McCabe