John McCabe decided to be a composer at the age of five-and-a-half. He studied in Manchester and Munich, and then embarked on an international career as composer and pianist (his complete CD survey of Haydn’s Piano Sonatas has become a landmark recording). He worked in almost every genre, though large-scale forms lie at the heart of his catalogue.
Apart from full-length ballets like Edward II and the two-part Arthur, his seven symphonies, at least twenty concertante works, and music such as Notturni ed Alba (for soprano and orchestra) and The Chagall Windows for orchestra place him at the centre of the repertoire. His output of chamber music, including seven string quartets and numerous quintets and trios, is equally outstanding, and he made a major contribution to the field of piano music. McCabe’s mature style was characterised by a dramatic post-tonalism, and vivid orchestrations, combined with both accessibility and integrity.
(Courtesy of Divine Art Records)