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Edward Cowie (b.1943): Choral Works "Gesangbuch" / BBC Singers; Endymion

Album Summary

>Cowie, Edward : Bell Bird Motet, for chorus
>Cowie, Edward : The Soft Complaining Flute, for baroque flute & chorus
>Cowie, Edward : Gesangbuch, for chorus & chamber ensemble
>Cowie, Edward : Lyre Bird Motet, for chorus
Conductors Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The opening piece of this recording - a 2011 commission for BBC Radio 3 - creates a complex musical tapestry and soundscape from the call of the Australian bell-bird, opening with translations of choruses of several species of Australian frogs. This is Signum's sixth release with the BBC Singers, following last year's widely-praised release of My Dancing Day.

American Record Guide, March/April 2014
Edward Cowie (b 1943) has become an admired musician in Britain, where he's maintained a close relationship with these BBC Singers. He's also a visual artist whose paintings and drawings have been exhibited all over the world. There certainly are strong visual elements to his music. 'Bell Bird Motet' (2011) depicts Australian thrushes twittering at dawn "in a vibrant and bell-like heterophony". More in line with my interests is Gesangbuch, a 4-movement 40-minute journey through the seasons with the choir accompanied by horn, clarinet, oboe, cor anglais, strings, harp, piano, and celeste. I commend Signum for honoring everyone's intentions with excellent engineering and a classy booklet.

The Guardian, 18th July 2013
Expansive, sometimes unruly, but always attractively wrought and harmonically sumptuous; the latest incarnation of the BBC Singers perform the pieces with the instrumentalists of Endymion just as vividly as their predecessors did more than 35 years ago.

Sunday Times, 11th August 2013
The earliest of Cowie's fastidiously written choral works here, Gesangbuch (1975-76), is a complex skein of four movements, each devoted to a season. Rich in colour and texture, it betrays the influence of Tippett. The BBC Singers and the instrumentalists of Endymion...are persuasive and precise.

MusicWeb International, 7th October 2013
Superbly recorded by the BBC, this is a rich and varied selection of choral works by British composer Edward Cowie...[in the Gesangbuch] virtuoso vocal writing is joined by colourful instrumentation - a rewarding challenge for performers and audience alike.

Choir & Organ, November/December 2013
Each of the four pieces on this absorbing CD is related to the natural world...The most recent work is the engaging Bell Bird Motet (2011), beautifully shaped by the BBC Singers under Stephen Cleobury, as is its earlier companion, Lyre Bird Motet (2002). An important release and highly recommended.

BBC Music Magazine, December 2013
Bell birds and Australian frogs - just two of the sounds the BBC Singers imitate here, with fabulous virtuosity. Gesangbuch, the centrepiece, alluringly mixes voices with 13 instruments.



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Works Details

>Cowie, Edward : Bell Bird Motet, for chorus
  • Conductor: Stephen Cleobury
  • Ensemble: BBC Singers
  • Running Time: 8 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 2011

>Cowie, Edward : The Soft Complaining Flute, for baroque flute & chorus
  • Conductor: Stephen Cleobury
  • Ensemble: Endymion
  • Running Time: 6 min. 51 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2003

>Cowie, Edward : Gesangbuch, for chorus & chamber ensemble
  • Conductor: Simon Joly
  • Ensemble: Endymion Ensemble
  • Running Time: 42 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1975-1976

>Cowie, Edward : Lyre Bird Motet, for chorus
  • Conductor: Stephen Cleobury
  • Running Time: 7 min. 16 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 2002