Publisher: Novello & Co
Desert II: Horizon (1981),
commissioned by the Harrogate International Festival with funds from Yorkshire Arts
Novello & Co Ltd
Works for Band/Wind/Brass Ensemble
Brass Band (1987)
While paying visits to the United States and the Middle East for performances of his music, McCabe became fascinated with the desert scenery he saw round him - the vast unbroken spaces, the scuttling lizards, the brief but dramatic flowering of brightly coloured plants, the limitless, seemingly desolate expanses which in reality teemed with life - so much so that he determined to try to evoke his impressions musically. The result is a series of works called DESERT. Horizon is the second of these, and in it he vividly captures the constantly altering shapes, and effects of changing light and shade: perhaps it is not too fanciful to imagine mirages, a green oasis or even a distant caravan on the skyline.
It is, of course, much more than mere atmospheric tone painting though. Its single movement falls into several distinct sections, covering a wide range of dynamics, tempi and moods. There are important roles for piccolo trumpet, for flugelhorn and a virtuosic tuba part. Individual instruments combine themselves into groups within the larger ensemble in a display of McCabe's colouring, scoring and resourceful part-writing at its most deft.
© 1984 Robert Harding
Britannia Building Society Band / Massed Bands