John McCabe, CBE (21 April 1939 – 13 February 2015) was a British composer and pianist. He created works in many different forms, including symphonies, ballets, and solo works for the piano. He served as principal of the London College of Music from 1983 to 1990. Guy Rickards described him as "one of Britain’s finest composers in the past half-century" and "a pianist of formidable gifts and wide-ranging sympathies."
McCabe's style evolved gradually from an initial lyrical constructivism through a serialist phase, with a fascination with repetitive patterns leading to a more complex combination of processes in order to achieve more subtle forms of continuity. His influences included Vaughan Williams, Britten, Tippett and Karl Amadeus Hartmann, and he was also influenced by non-classical music including rock and jazz.
This work is found in OUP's "Modern Organ Music" (Book 1), published in 1965. The work is dedicate "To Simon Preston" (b. 1938) who is a very dominant figure in the late 20th century English organ and church music scene. He was a chorister at King's College, then Organ Scholar there. Afterwards, he was Assistant Organist of Westminster Abbey, Organist of Christ Church, Oxford, and finally of Westminster Abbey. He left is position there to dedicate himself to a recording and performing career.
I've had this book for years, and always wondered just what this pieces sounds like...
It depicts a night-time dream (I suppose), calm at first, becoming more agitated, and then falling back to calm.
It's going to sound very "modern" to some, ears, but I found that there is a real beauty in the piece, IF you allow it to speak to you.
MANY of my loyal listeners will be quick to react and NOT like this, but, as I always urge them, give the music a chance! It's always an excellent thing to expand your horizons - musical and personal. This will give you a chance to come under its spell IF you give it the opportunity.
Photos of McCabe & Preston attached.