John McCabe, 1939-2015

John McCabeDirector Denis McCaldin writes following news of the death of John McCabe.

“Composer and pianist John McCabe CBE has died at the age of 75. A person of striking honesty, humour and integrity as well as being a fine musician, John managed a successful dual career as both pianist and composer.

He studied at the Royal Northern College of Music under pianist guru Gordon Green, who fired his interest in Haydn by playing a Richter recording of one the keyboard sonatas. John recorded all the Haydn sonatas for Decca between 1974 and 1976, setting new standards of musicianship and insight into the music. The discs are still in the catalogue.

John was a member of the Haydn Society of Great Britain’s Committee of Honour. His article ‘Five works inspired by Haydn’ (Haydn Society Journal 1993 p 44 et seq) describes the diverse ways in which the older composer influenced John’s own music. He ends with the words ‘Haydn is a model who sets himself challenges, sometimes obviously, sometimes subtly, within the context of music that seems spontaneous and unforced. Whatever one’s success in trying to learn from his lessons, the effort is unfailingly enjoyable and revealing.'”