John McCabe: Sonata (Homage to Tippett – Study No.12)

John McCabe: Sonata (Homage to Tippett - Study No.12)
Notenbuch Novello & Co Ltd.

Commissioned by the BBC for Ashley Wass, one of Radio 3’s New Generation Artists, and first performed at a Proms Chamber Music Concert on 31st August 2009.

‚The series of concert pieces (ranging from 5 to 16 minutes) that I have called Studies started with the intention of exploring either pianistic or compositional topics, but has since No 7, a homage to Dukas, also reflected my love of the music of various composers. Tippett’s piano music, some of which I have played many times, has always fascinated me for its examination of an enormous range of keyboard sonorities and technique, and for its lyrical poetry and the energy and dynamism so typical of its composer. In this study, I have combined my tribute to him (during which I refer to two of his works) with an exploration of sonata form – for many years I resisted the idea of writing a Piano Sonata (note the capital letters), thinking sonata form itself was not for me, but I suddenly felt I could write a single-movement work, thinking of the examples of Hoddinott, Scriabin and Tippett himself, which would impinge closely on sonata form. Thus, the opening vigorous section recurs as a kind of recapitulation to close the work, and between those two parts are a slow „movement“, and then a lightly scored scherzo. The actual ending itself vanishes into the distance in a little phrase which gets quicker and quieter until it is hardly heard.‘

                John McCabe
PF, Klavier Englisch
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