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John McCabe

Publisher: Novello & Co

Basse Danse (1970)
commissioned by the University College, Cardiff
Novello & Co Ltd
Solo Keyboard(s)
Year Composed
12 Minutes
Alternate Orchestration

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Programme Note
John McCabe Basse Danse (1970)
BASSE DANSE for two pianos (1970)

This 12-minute work was commissioned by University College, Cardiff, and is dedicated to Ian Bruce, with whom I gave the first performance in January 1971. The basic idea came from the renaissance dance type, which had as its basis a two-part form, one part slow and the other quick - it was often the case that the second part was a quicker version (sometimes simply at double speed) of the first.

These ideas became somewhat changed in my piece, but the relationships between the various sections are of a similar kind, with the basic pulse remaining the same throughout the work. After a short, quick introduction, there is a slow section (containing a kind of scherzo-like middle part) and a final quick "movement", closing with a return to the opening introduction. It might be added that although the work was commissioned and written for two pianos, once I started composing it I found myself increasingly determined to make an orchestral version of it, which was done in 1973. I hope that I have reflected in this music both the dance element and a certain degree of forthrightness characteristic of the Middle Ages.

© 1991 by John McCabe

  • Soloist(s)
    John McCabe / Tamami Honma
    Dutton Epoch:
  • 28 JUN 2011
    Fairfield Hall, Croydon
    Tong/Hasegawa Duo
  • 22 JUN 2004
    McCabe Resonances
    Ruth Hollick, piano / Kathryn Eves, piano
  • 07 MAR 2004
    Gulbenkian Theatre, University of Canterbury, UK
    Dancers from Dance Warehouse
    Tamami Honma, piano / John McCabe, piano

    Other Dates:
    11 March - Duke's Hall, Royal Academy of Music, London

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