Recordings

‘One of the most gifted British composers of her generation.’
INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW

‘Cecilia McDowall and Peter Warlock were bright and joyful, each in their way paying homage to older traditions, texts echoing Latin or old English, and adding further to the sense of ritual and celebration resonating across the centuries.’
THE GUARDIAN

‘Most arresting is O Oriens, a beautiful setting, its shimmering tone clusters and delicious suspensions evoking the morning star as it slowly rises through the heavens.’
THE GUARDIAN

‘I’d not heard Cecilia McDowall’s I know that my Redeemer liveth before. It must have been a considerable challenge to set a text immortalised by Handel in Messiah but she was not daunted by the task and produced a piece that is beautiful and expertly crafted.’
MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

‘All the music is radiant, all of it is unexpected… and comes from a choir that’s gone from being a minor player in Oxbridge choral music to becoming one of the most exciting groups in its area’
GRAMOPHONE

‘Works by Cecilia McDowall proclaim an instinctive understanding of the medium allied to the ability to speak directly to the listener and wholly without artifice.’   GRAMOPHONE

‘This is a poignant and moving musical reflection on the death of Edith Cavell, executed as an alleged traitor by the German army in 1915. Not only is the piece moving but I think it also captures the dignity displayed by Cavell.’ 
MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

‘Cecilia McDowall captures the mystery and fascination of the Shipping Forecast perfectly. Her music combined with the cadences of Sean Street’s poetry creates a wonderfully atmospheric choral work.’
AMAZON

‘Chamber works (‘Dream City’ and the grippingly moving ‘The case of the unanswered wire’) bring the musicianly Tippett Quartet into play on this disc which deserves to be part of any collection representing the best, most communicative contemporary music.’
BIRMINGHAM POST   

‘All the music is radiant, all of it is unexpected… and comes from a choir that’s gone from being a minor player in Oxbridge choral music to becoming one of the most exciting groups in its area.’
GRAMOPHONE

‘The sonorous bass pedal which opens Cecilia McDowall’s O Oriens is illuminated from above by an aurora of shifting harmonies, creating shimmering waves of sound-light. It’s a truly magical setting of one of the Advent antiphons, and the precision and focus it received here enhanced its transcendental glow.’
OPERA TODAY

‘The choir has an absolutely stunning sound, aided by the marvelous acoustic provided while recording in France. The results are of the highest quality. If you love choral music, you’ll love this.’
CLASSICAL-NET

‘This could be the best contemporary choral release of the year.’
CROSS RHYTHMS

‘The entire sequence, wisely chosen and sung with the utmost expressiveness and skill, is a pure delight.’
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

‘A richly rewarding disc of 20th-century a cappella motets … mock medievalisms are a distinctive feature of Cecilia McDowall’s votive antiphon Am redemptoris mater.’
GRAMOPHONE

‘More substantial is Mein blaues Klavier, Cecilia McDowall taking the poem by Else Lasker-Schüler as inspiration for a forceful study with a plaintive lament as it core.’ 
GRAMOPHONE

‘Sometimes richly tonal, sometimes more exploratory in harmonic range, her music is always full of invention; this warm, accessible disc conjures enticing scenes of midnight nightingales, ghostly Venetian waters. 
BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE   

In Buenos Aires, birthplace of the tango, there is an old tango hall called Salon Argentina. A faded sign hangs over the stage: ‘Salon Argentina – not just a place but somewhere to make friends.’ In the hall the dancers move under a dim light in grim, passionate embrace. In this homage to Piazzolla, the tango opens with an air of desolation and loneliness, but then gradually gathering itself into a dance of defiance.

Inspired by the intense imagery of Lorca’s poetry, The Moon Dances evokes contrasting aspects of dance. The first movement brings exuberance to a carnival atmosphere; in the second, the moon dances above the shadows that engulf the dead. In the last, the girl on the swing arcs across the sky, her dance shimmering beneath the moon.

‘Renowned for the charm and spontaneity of her music, McDowall’s striking compositions are given inspired and beautiful performances in these premier recordings.’
FLUTEWISE

‘. . .there is harmonic sensitivity in the way contrasting variants of both homophonic and polyphonic sections are built. Throughout the piece is that linear logic so much needed to make any music – but especially choral music – satisfying to perform.’  
CHOIR & ORGAN

‘The softly undulating lines and shimmering blend of Cecilia McDowall’s lovely Ave Maria show the choir at their best, tugging and releasing their way through a lovely sequence of suspensions.’ GRAMOPHONE

This rousing, back-stiffening and celebratory recital features appropriately effusive and reflective pieces delivered with contrasting glee and gravitas…
CHOIR & ORGAN

‘Bell sounds loom large in Kitchen’s repertoire, with Cecilia McDowall’s wonderful Church Bells Beyond The Stars, an evocation of chimes coming from a galaxy far, far away.’
THE HERALD

 

‘It seems that every text McDowall touches turns to a golden composition full of warm dissonances and unexpected harmonic progressions.’
CHORAL JOURNAL 2011

‘Heartfelt advocacy in beautifully prepared and recorded performances.’ GRAMOPHONE

‘This disc launches in delightful fashion with Laudate, an exuberant and ingratiating setting of Psalm 112. Radnor Songs comprises six powerfully imaginative and strikingly resourceful settings of poetry by Simon Mundy.’
GRAMOPHONE

‘McDowalls lyrical gifts make her a natural carol writer . . . Now may we singen is more straightforward: a joyful dance with a medieval flavour thanks to punchy rhythms, vocal drones and parallel fourths and fifths.’
CHURCH MUSIC QUARTERLY

‘. . . a lovely new setting of Ave maris stella, tender in unaffected simplicity.’
THE SPECTATOR

 

 

‘. . . these diverse works add wonderfully to the repertoire and should help open up new horizons for concert promoters.’ 
MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

‘Cecilia McDowall’s White Fox Woman, a sinister little scena for voice and oboe was especially written for the disc.’
BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE

‘McDowalls lyrical gifts make her a natural carol writer. In her Christina Rossetti setting, Before the paling of the stars, the haunting melody, first emerging out of a mysterious organ texture, is given a variety of expressive treatment, ever growing in confidence as we hail the King of glory.’
CHURCH MUSIC QUARTERLY

‘Once again, sensitivity to the words – their passion, their dignity, and their metrical quantities – is faultless. ‘
CHOIR & ORGAN

 

 

‘…this sumptuous music where expressive highlighting of key words gleams like episodes in a Chagall window.’ 
CHOIR & ORGAN