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A featured composer at this season’s BBC Proms, Edward Cowie celebrates his 70th birth- day this year and this CD from the ever-versatile BBC Singers is a worthy tribute to this highly individual composer who is also internationally recognised as a visual artist. Indeed, in recent years what Cowie calls ‘drawing towards music’ has played

Artist and composer Edward Cowie a significant role in the process of composition and the illustrations that grace the CD booklet are taken from his relevant sketchbooks, where they represent the second stage in the process of composition. Each of the four pieces on this absorbing CD is related to the natural world. The earliest, Gesangbuch (1975–76), is also the most substantial in its four-movement celebration of the four seasons. The other pieces are from the 2000s and include The Soft Complaining Flute (2003), which pits six sopranos against Stephen Preston’s breathtakingly agile baroque flute. The most recent work is the engaging Bell Bird Motet (2011), beautifully shaped by the BBC Singers under Stephen Cleobury, as is its earlier companion, Lyre Bird Motet (2002). An important release and highly recommended.

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica

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