A Garland for John McCabe

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John McCabe was almost a legend in his own lifetime, acknowledged as one of the foremost British composers of our time and also as a brilliant pianist who championed the work of many contemporary composers. Following his recent death, 19 composers wrote pieces in tribute for an ensemble of clarinet, recorder, viola and piano (and variations of the mix) which are now collected into this album which is lovingly dedicated to John’s memory and also to his widow Monica, who was a tireless support and who now works to promote his musical legacy. We are grateful for her contributions to this project.

Leading instrumentalists include Linda Merrick (clarinet) who is Principal of the Royal Northern College of Music; Alistair Vennart (viola) whose career is blooming both as soloist and founder member of the Solem Quartet; John Turner, one of the leading recorder players of today and former member of many world-renowned early-music ensembles, and pianist Peter Lawson, another highly regarded performer who has played with most top British orchestras and a long and distinguished recording and teaching career.

Track Listing

    Peter Dickinson:

  1. A Rag for McCabe
  2. John Joubert:

  3. Exequy
  4. Edward Gregson:

  5. John’s Farewell
  6. Robert Saxton:

  7. A Little Prelude for John McCabe
  8. Howard Skempton:

  9. Highland Song
  10. Elis Pehkonen:

  11. Lament for the Turtle-Dove
  12. Robin Walker:

  13. And Will You Walk Beside Me Down The Lane?
  14. Malcolm Lipkin:

  15. In Memoriam John McCabe
  16. William Marshall:

  17. Little Passacaglia
  18. Martin Ellerby:

  19. Nocturnes and Dawn (Patterdale)
  20. Rob Keeley:

  21. Elegy for John McCabe
  22. James Francis Brown:

  23. Evening Changes
  24. Gerard Schurmann:

  25. Memento
  26. Anthony Gilbert:

  27. The Flame Has Ceased
  28. Christopher Gunning:

  29. Danse des Fourmis
  30. David Matthews:

  31. Chaconne
  32. Raymond Warren

  33. In Nomine
  34. Emily Howard

  35. Outback
  36. Gary Carpenter:

  37. Edradour

Reviews

MusicWeb International

A fitting memorial to John McCabe, one in which his friends, colleagues and former students pay him homage in some beautifully performed music. As a whole this is a wonderful set of pieces, with a great variety of styles and make up of ensemble, but throughout the performances are excellent. Peter Lawson’s piano playing is thoughtful and at times evocative of McCabe’s own style, whilst John Turner’s tone is, as ever, beautiful throughout, with the same being true of both that of Linda Merrick and Alistair Vennart, with all performers having a significant part to play in my enjoyment of this disc.

” —Stuart Sillitoe
British Music Society

This is a fascinating collection of short pieces taking listeners on a highly charged emotional roller-coaster ride, boasting some exceptional compositions convincingly delivered by some exceptionally talented instrumentalists. A magnificent musical monument in memory of a great man… a mesmerising taste of ingenious creativity.

” —Chris Bye
MusicWeb International

A glance at the batting order reveals a prodigious and diverse group of composers. The performances by all the artists are convincing, competent and thoroughly engaged. I was impressed by the CD sound, which is clear and well-balanced. This is altogether a charming ‘Garland’ for John McCabe. There is much here to delight, enchant and call to mind one of the most important and best of ‘modern’ composers.

” —John France