Edward Cowie - In Flight Music: String Quartets 3-5 | NMC Recordings NMCD222

Edward Cowie - In Flight Music: String Quartets 3-5


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Label: NMC Recordings

Cat No: NMCD222

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Chamber

Release Date: 19th February 2016



Edward Cowie describes himself as 'the musical equivalent of a plein air visual artist', with compositions evolving from sketches or paintings done in situ. The natural world is inspiration for much of his music and on this album he focuses on flight; mainly of birds and insects.

In String Quartet No.3 ‘In Flight Music’ he adds contrast with two flying-machine-titled movements: Hang-gliders and Vapour Trails.

String Quartet No.5 ‘Birdsong Bagatelles’ features 24 brief movements, which collectively cover all the major and minor keys of the chromatic scale. Each piece is named after a bird (Wren, Blackbird, Magpie ...) but Cowie avoids the Messiaen-style approach and instead focuses on the visual displays of birds and their habitat, rather than bird song.

String Quartet No.4 explores mortality. The quartet plays a continuous, slowly ascending, emotional and sensual ‘hill-climb’, which ends with a hymn-like theme.

Edward Cowie studied composition with Alexander Goehr. In 1971 he was awarded a Chopin Fellowship to study with Witold Lutosławski in Poland. He was composer in association for BBC Singers (2002-2005) and at the same time the first artist in residence with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

The Kreutzer Quartet is ensemble-in-residence at Goldsmiths College and at Wilton’s Music Hall in London.

Track listing:
1-4. String Quartet No.3 ‘In Flight Music’ (1982-83, rewritten 2010)
5. String Quartet No.4 (1984, rewritten 2010)
6-29. String Quartet No.5 ‘Birdsong Bagatelles’ (2003-4)

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