This 1963 setting of three well-known folksongs honours the melody line in the Soprano while adding brilliant texture and accompaniment in the clarinet and Piano. In Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier, McCabe moves his harmonies away from the certainty of the minor tune for an intriguing dislocation that reflects the loss in the lyrics. In the lullabye Hush-A-Ba, Birdie, Croon, Croon, the clarinet provides a rippling undertone to the singer, while D’Ye Ken John Peel carries as much musical acknowledgement of the ‘death in the morning’ as it does the romping ‘hounds and Horn’.
Contemporary British musician John McCabe has been a prolific composer since his earliest years and an active pianist, recording extensively and performing across the globe. His compositions tend toward large scale works – there are seven symphonies so far – but he has composed for every size and type of ensemble. He is particularly well known for his concerti.