Four Shakespeare Songs (1991)

Soprano and piano or string orchestra
‘Four Shakespeare Songs’ sets texts exploring different aspects of love. Using passages from A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Hamlet, As You Like It, and Anthony and Cleopatra, McDowall’s writing is beautiful and clever in how it reflects the moods and emotions of the various characters in the texts.
Duration: 10 minutes
Oxford University Press
First performance 1992 | Gillian Humphreys (s), Courtney Kenny (pft) | Southwark Cathedral, London

An accompaniment for string orchestra is available on hire.

Programme note

Link to Score:
https://global.oup.com/academic/product/four-shakespeare-songs-9780193396944

Link to recording:

If I touched the earth (2016)

Text: Dylan Thomas
Baritone and piano
Duration: 9′
Oxford University Press
First performance 7 October, 2014 | Jeremy Huw Williams, baritone | Nigel Foster, piano
St David’s Hall, Cardiff

This work, commissioned by Jeremy Huw Williams in association with the Vaughan Williams Trust, sets three poems by Dylan Thomas. The first is melancholic in character; the second contrasts the fearlessness of childhood with the caution of adulthood; and the third is a joyful setting that moves through the four seasons of the year.

Link to Score:
https://global.oup.com/academic/product/if-i-touched-the-earth-9780193404021

 

Radnor Songs (2005)

Text: Simon Mundy
Soprano, piano
Duration: 15 minutes
1: The Buzzard | 2: Four | 3: Summergill | 4: Flat Out | 5: Radnor (New) | 6: Radnor (Old), Church and Harp
Gemini Publications (contact composer)
Commissioned by Presteigne Festival of Music and the Arts
First performance 29 August, 2005 | Rachel Nicholls (s), Paul Plummer (pft) | St Andrew’s Church, Presteigne, Wales
A cycle of six songs about the Welsh countryside.

Also scored for chamber orchestra. For hire of score and parts or more information please contact the composer.

Programme note

Link to Score:

Link to recording:

Two Ratushinskaya Songs (1996)

Text: Irina Ratushinskaya
High or meduim voice, piano
Duration: 10′
1: Song of the Mice | 2: Chipmunk

Gemini Publications (contact composer)
Commissioned by Mary Hamilton
First performance 6 October, 1996 | Mary Hamilton (a), Kathron Sturrock (pf) | St Olave’s, London

Three Songs after Schubert (2018)

Text: John Greening
Baritone and piano
Commissioned by Roderick Williams
Duration: 10′

This characterful trilogy of songs sets poems by John Greening that present a vibrant, modern take on each of Schubert’s song cycles. The first draws on ‘Gute nacht’ from Der Winterreise, taking inspiration from Captain Scott’s perilous expedition to the Antarctic in 1911-12. The second, ‘after Ständchen’, has an air of darkness and mystery, with icy clusters and ghostly spread chords. The text of the third song alludes to Schubert’s ‘Mein’ from Die Schöne Müllerin, and the musical setting is characterized by rapid semiquaver figuration in the piano and a vocal line full of dramatic expression.

Programme note

Link to Score:
https://global.oup.com/academic/product/three-songs-after-schubert-9780193531857

Link to recording:

White Fox Woman (2003)

Dramatic scena
Text: Christie Dickason
High or medium voice, oboe
Duration: 9′
Hunt Edition
First performance 4 May, 2002 | Linda Hirst (voc), Paul Goodey (ob) | Trinty College of Music, London

White Fox Woman, a dark mini-opera for middle to low voice and oboe, was inspired by an Oriental myth; the novelist, Christie Dickason, gives this ancient legend a dramatic and contemporary edge. Recording: Oboe Classics CC2003

Programme note

Link to Score:
http://www.spartanpress.co.uk/spweb/details.php

Link to recording: