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

Release: 2016, NMC

Kreuzer Quartet

CD, DL

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

String Quartet No. 3 "In Flight Music": III. Hummingbird Hawk Moths, Maurens, France (Excerpt)

String Quartet No. 5 "Birdsong Bagatelles": I. Grey Heron (Excerpt)

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.

  1. String Quartet No. 3 “In Flight Music’ – I. Hang-gliders, StanwellPark, NSW Australia
  2. String Quartet No. 3 “In Flight Music’ – II. Vapour Trails
  3. String Quartet No. 3 “In Flight Music’ – III. Hummingbird Hawk Moths, Maurens, France
  4. String Quartet No. 3 “In Flight Music’ – IV. Raptor Thermals – Mainly Eagles (Dordogne, France)
  5. String Quartet No. 4
  6. String Quartet No. 5 “Birdsong Bagatelles” – 1. Grey Heron
  7. String Quartet No. 5 “Birdsong Bagatelles” – 2. Mute Swan
  8. String Quartet No. 5 “Birdsong Bagatelles” – 3. Coot
  9. String Quartet No. 5 “Birdsong Bagatelles” – 4. Mallard
  10. String Quartet No. 5 “Birdsong Bagatelles” – 5. Black-Headed Gull
  11. String Quartet No. 5 “Birdsong Bagatelles” – 6. Kingfisher
  12. String Quartet No. 5 “Birdsong Bagatelles” – 7. Wren
  13. String Quartet No. 5 “Birdsong Bagatelles” – 8. Robin
  14. String Quartet No. 5 “Birdsong Bagatelles” – 9. Song Thrush
  15. String Quartet No. 5 “Birdsong Bagatelles” – 10. Blackbird
  16. String Quartet No. 5 “Birdsong Bagatelles” – 11. Chaffinch
  17. String Quartet No. 5 “Birdsong Bagatelles” – 12. Blue Tit
  18. String Quartet No. 5 “Birdsong Bagatelles” – 13. Wood Pigeon
  19. String Quartet No. 5 “Birdsong Bagatelles” – 14. Cuckoo
  20. String Quartet No. 5 “Birdsong Bagatelles” – 15. Green Woodpecker
  21. String Quartet No. 5 “Birdsong Bagatelles” – 16. Bullfinch
  22. String Quartet No. 5 “Birdsong Bagatelles” – 17. Jay
  23. String Quartet No. 5 “Birdsong Bagatelles” – 18. Tawny Owl
  24. String Quartet No. 5 “Birdsong Bagatelles” – 19. Rook
  25. String Quartet No. 5 “Birdsong Bagatelles” – 20. Kestrel
  26. String Quartet No. 5 “Birdsong Bagatelles” – 21. Lapwing
  27. String Quartet No. 5 “Birdsong Bagatelles” – 22. Partridge
  28. String Quartet No. 5 “Birdsong Bagatelles” – 23. Skylark
  29. String Quartet No. 5 “Birdsong Bagatelles” – 24. Magpie