I fancied listening to some of the late John McCabe’s music, so I chose EMI CDM 5671202 (which if still available is now on Warner Classics), a CD compilation of superb pieces in recordings from the mid-seventies: The Chagall Windows, Hallé/James Loughran (also on the LPO label. Bernard Haitink conducting), and, with CBSO/Louis Frémaux, Notturni ed Alba (featuring Jill Gomez, soprano) & Symphony No.2.
It proved to be a compelling seventy-five minutes’ worth: music that is strongly inventive and thought-through, suggestive and colourful, as well as beautifully crafted and, in these instances, skilfully orchestrated.
John McCabe (born in Huyton on 21 April 1939 and who died on 13 February 2015) was not only a consummate composer but also a gifted pianist (as heard in his stellar recordings of Haydn, Grieg and Nielsen, for examples) and, writing as someone who got to know him a little bit at concerts for a momentary chat, I recall John as a softly-spoken and friendly gentleman. I also remember a masterclass he gave, centered on one of his pieces, when he was the epitome of kindness to, and illuminating insight for, the young pianists.