Green Bushes (mixed voices) ; The Rambling Sailor (male voices) ; The Crystal Spring (upper voices) ; O No, John! (mixed voices)
Educated at Edinburgh and London Universities, Cecilia McDowall has been described by the International Record Review as having a 'communicative gift that is very rare in modern music. An award-winning composer, McDowall is often inspired by extra-musical influences, and her choral writing combines rhythmic vitality with expressive lyricism. Her music has been commissioned, performed, and recorded by leading choirs, among them Phoenix Chorale and the Choir of New College, Oxford, and is regularly programmed at prestigious festivals in Britain and abroad.
McDowall's artless eloquence shines through in Green Bushes, where the text's progress from romantic idyll to betrayed love is matched by a shift from rocking accompaniment and unison choral melodies to an altogether punchier conclusion. Textural clarity and uncluttered accompaniments hallmark the arranger's highly effective settings. * Andrew Stewart, Choir & Organ, September 2010 * By tackling arrangement rather than original composition, McDowall shows the art of arranging at its best. Each arrangement is imbued with McDowall's imaginative surprised and exciting harmonic structure, but is done in such a way that the arrangement is accessible by choirs with varied skill levels . . . These little charms heighten the arrangement to a new level, making it nearly a new composition rather than just a functional arrangement. With this new fancy of folk songs, McDowall has reminded us what a great, inventive, and creative arrangement should look like and certainly challenges other arrangers to do the same. Any choir would find these folk songs challenging while still accessible. * Choral Journal, February 2011 *