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John McCabe

Publisher: Novello & Co

String Trio (1965)
Work Notes
written for Alan Rawsthorne's 60th birthday
Novello & Co Ltd
Works for 2-6 Players
Year Composed
25 Minutes

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Programme Note
John McCabe String Trio (1965)
1. Allegro con fuoco - Lento - Allegro
2. Mesto, senza espressione - Andantino soave - Andante - Allegretto - Vivo - Lento
3. Lento - Allegro giocoso

The String Trio, Op. 37 was written in 1965 and bears a dedication to Alan Rawsthorne. It is a fine work for this medium with sensitive scoring and imaginative use of texture.

The first movement gains much effect from the use of dissonance in the creating and subsequent relaxing of tension. The harsh dissonance and rhythmic tautness of the opening give a feeling of aggression at the outset which is accentuated by the contrary motion between the violin and cello parts, as if each were pulling against the other in some endless struggle. Throughout the movement, and indeed the entire work, the texture is often contrapuntal.

The slow movement assumes the general format of a set of free variations, the theme being introduced in a three part canon setting, beginning with the violin, then working down to the cello, each entry at the distance of a major seventh. The movement is imaginatively organised to reveal the many varying aspects contained within the theme, and creates a series of contrasting moods as the variations progress.

After a slow introduction, the Allegro giocoso again displays a high contrapuntal content, and the work is brought to an end by a coda employing the theme from the opening of the first movement.

© 1991 John McCabe

  • Ensemble
    Camerata Ensemble
    Campion Cameo:
  • 01 MAR 2015
    ESO Friends Chamber Music
    St Leonard's Church, Malvern
    Ensemble Epomeo
  • 19 FEB 2004
    Brown Shipley Concert Hall, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester
    Camerata Ensemble

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