First Performances

John McCabe's "Psalm-Cantata", St John's, Smith Square

Paul Conway

John McCabe is most closely associated with large-scale orchestral statements, notably in concertante and symphonic forms and in ballet scores, yet chamber and instrumental music has recently played an increasingly significant role within his oeuvre. Of his vocal music, unaccompanied choral works such as the carols have attracted most attention, whilst his major contributions to the choral-orchestral repertoire, such as the large-scale cantata, Voyage (1972) and the extended song cycle for soloists, choir and large orchestra, Songs of the Garden (both Three Choirs Festival commissions, for 1972 and 2009, respectively), are considerably less widely known. It was with keen anticipation and no little curiosity, then, that I attended the first performance of McCabe's latest work for chorus and orchestra on 16 March 2013 at St John's, Smith Square.

Journal Tempo
Year 2014
Volume 68
Issue 267
Pages 66-67

Conway, Paul (2014) First Performances: John McCabe's "Psalm-Cantata", St John's, Smith Square. In: Tempo, Vol. 68, No. 267, pp. 66-67. Available at


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