One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

TROUBADISC

Reger Violin Sonatas
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Brahms Symphony 3
Dvorak Symphony 8
Vivaldi
9 cello sonatas
Dussek
Piano Music

Clara Schumann
piano concerto

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!


Quite splendid


Winning performances


Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc


a huge talent


A wonderful disc


Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!


Roth’s finest Mahler yet


Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance

 

REVIEW
Plain text for smartphones & printers

We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Edward COWIE (b. 1943)
Bell Bird Motet (2011) [8:12]
The Soft Complaining Flute (2003) [6:44]*
Gesangbuch (1975-6) [42:03]
Lyre Bird Motet (2002) [7:14]
BBC Singers
Stephen Cleobury/Simon Joly
Stephen Preston (baroque flute)*
rec. 13 January 2012, Studio 1, BBC Maida Vale and 6 June 2003, Phoenix Sound, Wembley, London (Gesangbuch)
SIGNUM RECORDS SIGCD331 [64:40]

Superbly recorded by the BBC, this is a rich and varied selection of choral works by British composer Edward Cowie. By far the largest in scale for this programme, the Gesangbuch was the first of a long and fruitful collaboration between Cowie and the BBC Singers. Eloquent and virtuoso vocal writing is joined by colourful instrumentation - a rewarding challenge for performers and audience alike.
 
The Gesangbuch is divided into four movements, with the four seasons as a basis for each. This is an atonal world, but with beautifully atmospheric passages and never a dull moment. The music is angular and intellectually stimulating as well as descriptive, inhabiting that 1970s avant-garde scene which steered clear of obvious tonality. At the same time it suggests elements of close-harmony, a diversity of musical periods including Baroque associations via harpsichord, and a musical journey. This concatenation resolves through remarkable textures of vocally expressed natural sounds into a tonally ‘rapturous benediction’.
 
The smaller scale works on this CD are no less fascinating, the Bell Bird Motet weaving a musical spell around an Australian dawn chorus scene complete with frogs. This is a companion work to the Lyre Bird Motet, which sets an evocative evening vista using major and minor tonalities through which avian characters emerge and interact. My favourite work on the disc is The Soft Complaining Flute, which quite magically introduces the baroque flute arabesques of Stephen Preston over coolly limpid vocal lines and cluster-like chords. It’s a combination which develops into an equal but contrasting dialogue and gives way to a remarkable solo flute cadenza full of skilful glissandi.
 
It is a shame that the sung texts are not given in the booklet, but this is the only minus point in a stunning collection of fascinating contemporary choral repertoire.
 
Dominy Clements