CECILIA MCDOWALL (b.1951): Five Seasons for Chorus, Oboe/Cor Anglais, Harp and String Orchestra (Ilid Jones [oboe, cor angl], Suzanne Willison-Kawalec [harp]), Laudate for Mezzo-Soprano, Chorus and Chamber Orchestra (Katherine Allen [mezzo]), Radnor Songs for Soprano and Chamber Orchestra (Rachel Nicholls [soprano]), Unaccompanied Chorus: A Canterbury Mass, I have done what is mine to do, Now may we singen.
Catalogue Number: 09L098
Label: Dutton Epoch
Reference: CDLX 7230
Description: These are attractive, instantly approachable works in a fresh, lively idiom plainly derived from the English choral and vocal traditions of the early-mid 20th century - Vaughan Williams, for instance, or Britten. The sacred works- the exultant Laudate with its bright, appealing orchestration, and the unaccompanied little Mass, as well as the charming anthem and carol, are straightforwardly tonal, with a degree of harmonic astringency sufficient to avoid any suggestion of Victorian sanctimoniousness, with a simple, radiant, directly communicative beauty. The cycle of Radnor Songs, to texts by Simon Mundy, celebrates an historically resonant area of the British isles, with pictorial vividness and gentle nostalgia. The largest and most ambitious work here, Five Seasons, is also a celebration of landscape, with themes of nature, our agricultural and social response to it, environmental concerns and natural balance. Lively and antiphonal part-writing and rich harmony for voices and ensemble combine in a serious but uplifting and celebratory work. City of Canterbury Chamber Choir, Orchestra Nova; George Vass.