"A Fancy of Folksongs is an utterly charming settings of four familiar English folk-songs for mixed voices, soprano solo and harp. Try to find the time to hear this disc (of choral music CDLX 4176) I am sure you will not be disappointed."
International Record Review, March 2005
Cecilia McDowall has garnered increased recent attention thanks to her rich and colourful compositions. It seems that every text she touches turns to a golden composition full of warm dissonances and unexpected harmonic progressions. Her skill in creating a wide spectrum of shifting colours using only unaccompanied voices is a fascinating accomplishment. Many of these works, however, are beyond the scope of any but the best choirs.
Now McDowall has turned away from her recent tradition of Latin and other sacred texts to provide a set of charming gems – a fancy, as she calls it – of English folk songs. By tackling arrangement rather than original composition, McDowall shows the art of arranging at its best. Each arrangement is imbued with McDowall’s imaginative surprises and exciting harmonic structure, but is done in such a way that the arrangement is accessible by choirs with varied skill levels.
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 yet accessible.
Choral Journal 2011