John McCabe

Biography

Born: April 21, 1939; Huyton  
John McCabe is a prolific English composer whose pianism has generally attracted greater attention than his many worthwhile compositions. Part of the reason public focus has been directed largely at his keyboard activity owes something to his enormous pianistic talent, a talent that has allowed him to record the entirety of the Haydn sonatas with great acclaim, as well as to delve into twentieth century works by Hindemith, Britten, Bax, Webern, Read more and others with equal authority. His mature compositional style has been conservative and generally tonal, not much further advanced in its expressive language than that of Bartók or pre-serial Stravinsky. Though McCabe did dabble in twelve-tone music early on, he cast it aside in favor of tonality and greater accessibility. McCabe has composed in most genres, including opera, ballet, symphonic (including film scores), vocal, choral, and various instrumental. As a pianist McCabe has recorded for a variety of labels, including Decca, EMI, Philips, Hyperion, Lyrita, and ASV.

John McCabe was born on April 21, 1939, in Huyton, Liverpool, Merseyside, England. He was a musical prodigy, composing symphonies and numerous other works in his childhood, despite suffering periodic illnesses resulting from severe burns incurred at age two.

McCabe studied composition under Humphrey Procter-Gregg

at Manchester University from 1958-1960. This period saw one of his earliest surviving large works, the Violin Concerto No. 1 (1959). At Royal Manchester College of Music (1960-1961) McCabe studied piano with Gordon Green and composition with Thomas Pitfield. He also studied briefly (1964) at the Munich Hochschule with German composer Harald Genzmer.

By 1970 McCabe had already achieved a measure of success as a pianist, but from about that year he began garnering international notice, initially for his song cycle Notturni ed alba, for soprano and orchestra. From 1974-1976 McCabe recorded the Haydn piano sonatas for Decca. It was around this time that he more or less abandoned serial music. In 1983 he was given the title of Commander of the British Empire for his contributions to British music.

McCabe's imaginative ballet Edward II (1994-1995) was premiered with great success in 1995 by the Stuttgart Ballet, with choreography by David Bintley. In 2004 McCabe, who had served as President of the Incorporated Society of Musicians in 1982-1983, received a Distinguished Musician Award from the ISM. Among McCabe's later efforts was the 2005 Helios recording of Herbert Howells' Lambert's Clavichord, the work's first recording on piano. Read less
Joubert: Song-cycles & Chamber Works / Rogers, Mccabe, Et Al
Release Date: 10/09/2007   Label: Toccata Classics  
Catalog: 45   Number of Discs: 1
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Nielsen: Piano Music / John McCabe
Release Date: 07/10/2015   Label: Somm  
Catalog: 146   Number of Discs: 2
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Grieg: Slatter & Stimmungen / McCabe
Release Date: 11/01/2015   Label: Somm  
Catalog: 154   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 1-21 of 21 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Grieg: Slatter & Stimmungen / McCabe
    Label: Somm   Catalog: 154 Release Date: 11/01/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg
    Performer:  John McCabe
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  • 2.
    McCabe: Piano Music
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8571367 Release Date: 08/14/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John McCabe
    Performer:  John McCabe
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  • 3.
    Nielsen: Piano Music / John McCabe
    Label: Somm   Catalog: 146 Release Date: 07/10/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Carl Nielsen
    Performer:  John McCabe
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  • 4.
    Best Of British Piano - Bridge, Lambert, Reizenstein
    Label: Continuum   Catalog: 1040 Release Date: 06/09/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frank Bridge,  Constant Lambert,  Franz Reizenstein
    Performer:  Peter Jacobs,  John McCabe,  Philip Martin
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  • 5.
    Best Of British Clarinet Vol 2 / Khouri, Mccabe, Pettinger
    Label: Continuum   Catalog: 1074 Release Date: 05/12/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Villiers Stanford,  Herbert Howells,  Arthur Benjamin
    Performer:  John McCabe,  Murray Khouri,  Peter Pettinger
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  • 6.
    McCabe: Composer, Pianist, Conductor
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8571370 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John McCabe
    Performer:  John McCabe
    Conductor:  John Snashall,  John McCabe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Scotland National Youth Orchestra
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  • 7.
    British Piano Concertos
    Label: Lyrita   Catalog: 2345 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Malcolm Williamson,  Alun Hoddinott,  Charles Villiers Stanford,  Gerald Finzi  ... 
    Performer:  Malcolm Williamson,  Philip Fowke,  Malcolm Binns,  Peter Katin  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Dommett,  Barry Wordsworth,  Nicholas Braithwaite,  Vernon Handley  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 8.
    The Velvet Gentleman - Satie: Piano Music / John Mccabe
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1227 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Erik Satie
    Performer:  John McCabe
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  • 9.
    Hindemith: Ludus Tonalis, Suite
    Label: Helios   Catalog: 55413 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Hindemith
    Performer:  John McCabe
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  • 10.
    John Mcabe Farewell Recital
    Label: Toccata Classics   Catalog: 139 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Emily Howard,  John Casken,  John McCabe  ... 
    Performer:  John McCabe
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  • 11.
    An English Recital / John Mccabhe
    Label: British Music Society   Catalog: 103 Release Date: 02/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Benjamin Britten,  John Joubert,  Gustav Holst  ... 
    Performer:  John McCabe
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  • 12.
    John Mccabe: Piano Music
    Label: British Music Society   Catalog: 424 Release Date: 02/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John McCabe
    Performer:  John McCabe
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  • 13.
    Wood: String Quartets 1 & 2, Etc; Fricker, Berkeley, Dalby, Mccabe, Rainier
    Label: Lyrita   Catalog: 304 Release Date: 04/14/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  John McCabe,  Martin Dalby,  Peter Racine Fricker,  Lennox Berkeley  ... 
    Performer:  Julian Lloyd Webber,  John McCabe,  Brian Hawkins,  Perry Hart  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Oboe Band,  Dartington String Quartet
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  • 14.
    Britten, Shostakovich: Cello Sonatas / Lloyd Webber, Mccabe
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 422345 Release Date: 08/05/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Sergei Prokofiev
    Performer:  Julian Lloyd Webber,  John McCabe
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  • 15.
    Joubert: Song-cycles & Chamber Works / Rogers, Mccabe, Et Al
    Label: Toccata Classics   Catalog: 45 Release Date: 10/09/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Joubert
    Performer:  John McCabe,  John Tunnicliffe
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  • 16.
    Moeran: Rhapsody No 2, Violin Concerto, Etc / Boult, Handley
    Label: Lyrita   Catalog: 248 Release Date: 06/12/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ernest John Moeran
    Performer:  John Georgiadis,  John McCabe
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Nicholas Braithwaite
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 17.
    Howells: Lambert's Clavichord, Howells' Clavichord / Mccabe
    Label: Helios   Catalog: 55152 Release Date: 09/13/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Herbert Howells
    Performer:  John McCabe
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  • 18.
    William Schuman: Symphony No 4, Credendum, Piano Concerto
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 566 Release Date: 03/25/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Schuman
    Performer:  John McCabe
    Conductor:  David Alan Miller
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Albany Symphony Orchestra
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  • 19.
    Saxton: A Yardstick To The Stars, Etc
    Label: Nmc   Catalog: 65 Release Date: 05/15/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Saxton
    Performer:  Paul Silverthorne,  John Constable,  Christopher George,  Manon Morris  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Austin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brunel Ensemble members
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  • 20.
    Haydn: The Piano Sonatas / John Mccabe
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 443785 Release Date: 06/24/1997   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
    Performer:  John McCabe
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  • 21.
    Bax: String Quartet No 1, Etc / English Qt, Mccabe, Kanga
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 8391 Release Date: 10/28/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arnold Bax
    Performer:  Skaila Kanga,  Skaila Kanga,  John McCabe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English String Quartet
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