• John McCabe
  • Jubilee Suite (1977)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

First performance of first movement by London Symphony Orchestra at Royal Festival Hall on 17/4/1977

  • 3(pic)333/4.3.2+btbn.1/timp.3perc/[cel]/str
  • 12 min

Programme Note


The first movement of this Suite, Jubilee Prelude, was commissioned by the Cultural Committee for the London Celebrations of the Silver Jubilee of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II and was first performed in the Royal Festival Hall in 1977 by the London Symphonic Orchestra by André Previn. It was afterwards suggested to me that I should make it the first movement of a little suite, and the same Committee commissioned me to do so - by the time all this had been accomplished the celebrations were over, so the complete Suite was unperformed until 1986, when the first performance was given by the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Norman Del Mar at the Kenwood Concert Bowl.

It is a very light piece in nature, with differing orchestration for most of the movements - the Jig, for instance, omits most of the brass, and the slow Fugue is for solo horn and strings only. The full orchestra is deployed only in the first and last movements, and the Finale returns to the main theme of the Prelude towards the end of the work. Lightweight or not, however, the Suite does constitute a kind of set of mini-variations, since all the melodic material clearly derives from the opening tune of the Prelude, and the piece was written basically for fun.

© Copyright 1999 by John McCabe