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John McCabe

Publisher: Novello & Co

Six-Minute Symphony (1997)
Novello & Co Ltd
Sub Category
String Orchestra
Year Composed
6 Minutes
Programme Note
John McCabe Six-Minute Symphony (1997)
Grave - Allegro deciso - Tempo Primo (Grave) -
Adagio - Allegretto, scherzando - Adagio
Allegro piacevole - Tempo Primo (Grave)

When the Guildhall Strings, to my delight, invited me to write a short piece to help celebrate their 15th anniversary, I decided it would be fun to write a symphony of just a few minutes' duration - the few minutes turned out to be six, hence the title.

This is a complete symphony, with a slow introduction to the Allegro deciso first movement, returning at the end (a French Overture kind of formal device) - this leads to the slow movement, an Adagio enclosing as its central section a brief Scherzo, and the work closes with a final quickish movement and, at the end, a return to the idea of the very opening. The ideas of the various "movement" are closely related, as they would be in any symphony I wrote of more conventional proportions, and though very brief, the sections of the piece have all the usual classical elements, first and second subjects, development section and, in the finale, a nod at rondo form - all these, of course, being greatly truncated but essentially embedded in the music.

© John McCabe 1997

Preview the score

  • Ensemble
    St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra
    Tamami Honma, piano
    Donatas Katkus
    Dutton Laboratories Epoch:
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