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John McCabe

Publisher: Novello & Co

Two Scenes from 'Edward II' (piano duet version) (2012)
Novello & Co Ltd
Solo Keyboard(s)
Year Composed
11 Minutes

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Programme Note
John McCabe Two Scenes from 'Edward II' (piano duet version) (2012)
I. The French Court
II. The Barons
These two pieces are taken from the score Edward II, the full-length ballet with
choreography by David Bintley commissioned by the Stuttgart Ballet and written in
1994/5. The ballet's first performance took place in Stuttgart in April 1995 – a two-piano
version of two scenes from it was written the same year, to a commission from the Port
Fairy Festival in Australia, and this piano-duet arrangement (four hands at one piano)
followed in 2012 as a gift to Joseph Tong and Waka Hasegawa in gratitude for their
performances of my music. It is dedicated to Piano4Hands (Joseph and Waka).
The ballet's origins are in the play by Christopher Marlowe, and the two scenes rewritten
for two pianos, and played without a real break, are contrasted in mood. The first, from
Act Two, is a set of dances performed at the French Court, somewhat pastiche in style
and one of the few lighter moments of the score. This is followed by a reminder of the
essential darkness of the work, and its portrayal of the lust for power, in the scene from
Act One in which the Barons opposed to Edward unite to express their anger at his
behaviour and their determination to dominate and (ultimately) to overthrow him. The
two scenes last about six minutes and four minutes respectively.

Programme Note © 2012 John McCabe

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