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Christie Dickason was born in Indiana, USA and grew up in a variety of countries, including Mexico, Thailand and Switzerland.

She graduated with honours from Harvard (an Anne Radclife scholar) and completed a post-graduate degree at the Yale Drama School. After moving to England her first job was as Resident Choreographer and Assistant Director with the Royal Shakespeare Company under director Trevor Nunn. Later she directed the first English production of the early Vaclav Havel play, The Increased Difficulty of Concentration.

She began to concentrate on writing while seriously ill in hospital and her initial published thriller novel, The Dragon Riders (1986) centres on a strong French-Vietnamese heroine.

The opening McDowall/Dickason song, 'Autumn Migration,' describes a flock of birds tracking across earth and sky pursued by a 'single late flyer'. The second evocative lyric, 'Night Garden', suggests the elusive aura of a quiet summer's evening where 'lives too small to risk the light' begin to stir. The final, witty ditty, 'Would like to meet' [listen -- track 16, 1:45-2:40], presents an imaginative Lonely Hearts column from sea, meadow and woodland.

This notably diverse Dutton programme reveals McDowall as a distinctive, challenging choral writer who, despite traditional antecedents, speaks to her audiences with fresh, welcome and striking individuality.

Copyright © 9 March 2008 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand


Cecilia McDowall: Stabat Mater; On Angel's Wing; Lonely Hearts

CDLX 7197 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE 71'53" 2007 Dutton Laboratories

Eamonn Dougan, baritone (Stabat Mater;; On Angel's Wing); Charlotte Mobbs, soprano (On Angel's Wing); Clare Porter, soprano (Deus, qui claro lumine); Gretel Dowdeswell, piano (On Angel's Wing); Nigel Shipway, percussion (On Angel's Wing); Orchestra Nova Ensemble: Kathryn Thomas, flute; Catriona Scott, clarinet; Suzanne Willison-Kawalec, harp; Martin Smith, violin; Sarah-Jane Bradley, viola; Rebecca Leyton, cello (Lonely Hearts); St Catherine's Singers, Haberdashers' Askes' Girls School (Stabat Mater, Lonely Hearts); City of Canterbury Chamber Choir (Stabat Mater, On Angel's Wing); South Hampstead High School Singers (On Angel's Wing, Lonely Hearts); Joyful Company of Singers (Three Latin Motets; Deus, Qui claro lumine; Annunciation); Peter Broadbent, conductor (Three Latin Motets; Deus, Qui claro lumine; Annunciation); Orchestra Nova (Stabat Mater); George Vass, conductor (Stabat Mater; On Angel's Wing; Lonely Hearts)

Cecilia McDowall (born 1951): Stabat Mater - sequence for the Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for baritone soloist, children's choir, mixed chorus and large ensemble (Stabat Mater dolorosa; Qui est homo; Pro peccatis suae gentis; Eia Mater, fons amoris; Sancta Mater; Virgo virginum; Inflammatus et accensus); On Angel's Wing - cantata for soprano and baritone soloists, children's choir, mixed chorus, piano and percussion; Three Latin Motets, for unaccompanied voices (Ave Regina; Ave Maria; Regina Caeli); Deus, qui claro lumine, for unaccompanied chorus; Annunciation, a carol for Advent; Lonely Hearts, for upper voice chorus, flute, clarinet, harp, violin, viola and cello (Autumn Migration; Night Garden; Would like to meet)



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