Cecilia McDowall writes really imaginative music. Explore her styles in these wonderful books.
Clever, amusing and with unexpected twists, Six Pastiches is probably the best known of Cecilia’s books. Each movement is a caricatures of itself. Comic Song is in a minor key, the Hornpipe has the famous tune altered and the Romantic Song is very sad indeed! The easier Waltz and Menuet would be a good starting point with Music Hall, with its frequent changes of key and tricky notes, possibly the most challenging. They are all just lovely! Difficulty Guide: 3-6
All of these five pieces are lovely to play as they are constructed in easy keys and with a sensible note range. From ‘The Italian Connection’ which is full of sunshine, to ‘A Russian Encounter’ with it’s beautiful melody, and the laid-back style of ‘Star Time’, there is something for everyone to enjoy here. Ideal for those ‘between exams’ periods, this music will be forever useful! Difficulty Guide: 5-6
Eleven is a very atmospheric piece which draws on the middle-European folk song tradition that inspired Bartok, and it is dedicated to the people of Kosovo who endured so much suffering in the Kosovo war. McDowall uses these folk melodies with grace notes and glissandi to evoke the sound of the cimbalon, and the piano rumbles away ominously evoking the constant threat of danger. The outer melismatic sections frame a more rhythmically centred core. This is such a good piece! Difficulty Guide: 8
These seven lovely little vignettes are just the thing if you’re starting out on the piccolo. All are moderate technically so you can concentrate on really getting to know the instrument. The style is mostly gentle and the harmonies quietly quirky. Short, useful and very enjoyable! Difficulty Guide: 5-6
This is a short fantasie-like piece which has a free introduction leading to a melody evoking Scottish folksong. The return of the introduction is even more improvisatory and it all ends in a whisper. It’s beautifully written and beautiful to play. Difficulty Guide: 7-8