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Naxos joins with classical music lovers around the world in expressing profound sadness at the news of the death of John McCabe on 13 February, 2015.

A prolific composer from childhood, John McCabe studied in Manchester and Munich before embarking on an international career as a composer and pianist. He worked in almost every genre, though large-scale forms lay at the heart of his catalogue. Apart from full-length ballets such as 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 placed him at the centre of the repertoire. Cloudcatcher Fells became a classic of the brass band repertoire. Equally outstanding, his output of chamber music included seven string quartets and numerous quintets and trios. He also made a major contribution to the fields of piano and vocal music, including a wide range of choral works.

John McCabe’s mature style was characterised by dramatic post-tonalism and vivid orchestration, combined with both accessibility and integrity. In his distinguished career as a concert pianist, he performed and recorded widely. He was appointed CBE for his services to British music in 1985. John McCabe became president of the British Music Society following the death of Sir Lennox Berkeley in 1989, and remained in that position until 2014.


“This disc can be recommended to anyone who appreciates modern but accessible choral music. For those listeners who only know this composer through his large-scale works such as the ballets, the Chagall Windows or Cloudcatcher Fells for brass band, this disc will be an eye-opening exploration of a facet of McCabe’s music that is little represented in the CD catalogues.”
MusicWeb International

composer, pianist, conductor

“This is an excellent new release from Naxos that should command the attention of all enthusiasts of British music. It presents two important works by John McCabe that have so far eluded release on CD. It is also a pleasure to hear the composer’s own performance of his piano pieces, his conducting of Tuning and the excellent Symphony No. 1, Elegy.’s Stone.”
MusicWeb International

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