Fantasy On A Theme Of Liszt was written in 1967 for a Cheltenham Festival concert. The theme which lies behind the work is the opening tune of Liszt's Faust Symphony, though this is never heard in its original form but is rather used as a thematic reservoir from which the music is derived. It is dedicated to the American composer and conductor Bernard Herrmann.
John McCabe (1939-2015) was a British composer, pianist and music administrator. He studied at the Royal Manchester College of Music (now the RNCM), and built a career as a virtuoso pianist. However, he also wrote several hundred musical compositions, ranging from large-scale orchestral works to chamber music and solo instrumental pieces - it is said the only classical genre he did not write for was opera.