Cecilia McDowall Catalogue


Discover the music of Cecilia McDowall.

Cecilia McDowall


Cecilia McDowall

Born in London in 1951, Cecilia McDowall has won many

awards and been short-listed eight times for the British

Composer Awards. In 2014, she won the Choral category

of the British Composer Awards for her haunting work,

Night Flight (for SSATB and cello solo), which celebrates

the pioneering flight of the American aviatrix, Harriet

Quimby, across the English Channel. Cecilia is a signed

composer with Oxford University Press and is currently

Composer-in-Residence at Dulwich College, London. In

2013, she received an Honorary Doctorate in Music from

the University of Portsmouth.

Cecilia McDowall has a distinctive style which speaks

directly to instrumentalists and singers as well as to

listeners. Her most characteristic works fuse fluent

melodic lines with occasional dissonant harmonies and

rhythmic exuberance. Her music has been commissioned

and performed by leading choirs, including the BBC

Singers, Kansas City Chorale, the Choir of King’s College,

Cambridge, and many instrumental and orchestral

ensembles. Her music is performed, recorded, and

broadcast worldwide.

McDowall’s works are regularly broadcast on BBC Radio

and readily available on CD and streaming platforms.

Recent releases that feature her work include The Sixteen’s

Song of the Nativity (Coro) and Christmas with St John’s

(Hyperion) by St John’s College Choir, Cambridge. Three

Latin Motets were recorded by the renowned American

choir, Phoenix Chorale; this Chandos recording, Spotless

Rose, won a Grammy award and was nominated for Best

Classical Album.

Recent significant commissions include Da Vinci Requiem

(2019) for Wimbledon Choral Society, written to mark

the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death,

and Everyday Wonders: The Girl from Aleppo (2018),

commissioned by the National Children’s Choir of Great

Britain. Everyday Wonders: The Girl from Aleppo tells the

story of Kurdish teenager, Nujeen Mustafa’s incredible

journey across Europe from war-torn Syria in a wheelchair,

never giving into despair but affecting those around her

with her never-ceasing spirit of optimism and wonder.

In December 2020, McDowall was presented with the

prestigious Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Works


Ave maris stella

SATB and string orchestra or keyboard

Vocal score 9780193359499

Hire conductor’s score and parts 9780193362277

Hire vocal scores 9780193376748

This beautiful and moving piece in seven sections

combines text from the Ave maris stella antiphon and

Psalms 26 and 106. Starting and finishing in a mood of

peace and certainty, the work is structured around a

turbulent middle section anticipating the gathering storm.

12 minutes

Da Vinci Requiem

Soprano solo, baritone solo, SATB, and orchestra

Vocal score 9780193519022

Hire conductor’s score and parts 9780193528697

Hire vocal scores 9780193530195

This significant seven-movement work from Cecilia

McDowall presents an imaginative pairing of extracts

from The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci with texts from

the Latin Missa pro defunctis. Da Vinci’s reflective and

penetrating insights into the nature of mortality and all

that it encompasses cast new light on the familiar Requiem

texts, and McDowall employs her orchestral forces to create

a rich, atmospheric backdrop to the profound narrative

presented by the chorus and soprano and baritone soloists.

Dark, sonorous writing precedes an energetic ‘Sanctus’,

and the closing bars of the luminous ‘Lux aeterna’ create a

powerful allusion to da Vinci’s concept of ‘The Perspective

of Disappearance’.

35 minutes


SATB, soprano solo, mezzo-soprano solo, and

chamber orchestra or piano

2 ob (I+ca), bn, str

Vocal score 9780193359482

Hire conductor’s score and parts 9780193364820

Hire vocal scores 9780193376786

McDowall has skilfully united luscious harmonies with

fresh melodies and crisp rhythms in this vibrant work.

Divided into six movements, Magnificat is ideal for SATB

choirs seeking fresh and inspiring new sacred repertoire

suitable for concert use.

28 minutes

Choral Works Sacred

Missa Mariae

SSA and organ

Vocal score 9780193417540

Digital 9780193537200

This concise Latin mass setting is entirely suitable for

liturgical use, but the sharply delineated characters of the

different movements make it also an appealing concert

work. The organ part is supportive, but full of interest and

not merely accompanimental. Particularly memorable are

the Gloria, with its constantly shifting time-signatures, and

the haunting Agnus Dei.

11 minutes

Some corner of a foreign field

Tenor solo, SATB (with divisions), strings, and


Vocal score 9780193404540

Hire conductor’s score and parts 9780193404526

Hire vocal material 9780193411517

Written as part of McDowall’s tenure as composer in

residence at Dulwich College, Some corner of a foreign field

was commissioned to mark the centenary of the First World

War. A profoundly moving cantata, it draws on biblical texts

associated with the acclaimed pupil of Dulwich College,

Sir Ernest Shackleton, his 1916 Antarctic Expedition,

and Rupert Brooke. This beautiful work, with its lustrous

harmonies and its poignant tenor solo, offers choirs an

immensely rewarding experience.

18 minutes

Stabat Mater

Baritone solo, SATB, children’s choir or semi-chorus,

and small orchestra or keyboard

fl, cl, bn, 2 hn, hp, str

Vocal score 9780193400498

Hire conductor’s score and parts 9780193401501

Hire vocal scores 9780193401518

McDowall’s setting of the Stabat Mater comprises seven

movements in a symmetrical structure. A plaintive

meditation on the sorrows of the Virgin Mary as she stands

by the Cross, McDowall’s Stabat Mater is a sophisticated

modern alternative to more well-known settings.

30 minutes

Choral Works Sacred

† - Title made available individually from an anthology in digital format only.



Choral Leaflets/Octavos Sacred

Choral Leaflets/Octavos Sacred

Adoro te devote

SSATB unaccompanied

Vocal score 9780193408272

Setting part of a Eucharistic hymn text by Thomas

Aquinas, this piece is flowing and expressive. It features

homophonic sections, melismatic lines, and optional

soaring soprano solos. Adoro te devote is dedicated to the

memory of the victims of the Nepalese Earthquake in 2015.

4 minutes

Alma Redemptoris Mater

SSATBB unaccompanied

Vocal score 9780193378339

This is a beautiful six-part unaccompanied Marian motet

written for the Marian Consort. The work combines

reminiscences of Renaissance settings of this text with

McDowall’s distinctive contemporary voice.

4.5 minutes

Ash Wednesday

SATB and organ

Vocal score 9780193524200

Digital 9780193538528

Ash Wednesday sets typically fervent verses by Christina

Rossetti. The vocal lines are mostly simple and affecting,

with some highly individual harmonies, while the organ

part is by turns expressive and showy.

5 minutes

Aurea luce

SATB (with divisions) and organ

Vocal score 9780193378063

Commissioned and first performed by the choir of

Liverpool Cathedral, this anthem is ideal for use during

the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. The choral lines move

between sonorous homophonic writing and vibrant

imitative passages, and are underpinned by a repeated

quaver motif in the organ, combining a sense of joy with

moments of reflection.

4.5 minutes

Ave Maria

SSA unaccompanied

Vocal score 9780193355569

Digital 9780193535770

This is the second and most intimate of the composer’s

Three Latin Motets. Scored for upper voices, this gentle

supplication to the Virgin is built on a plainchant opening,

and contains expressive dissonances and suspensions in a

setting of great purity and directness.

2 minutes

Ave Regina

SSATB unaccompanied

Vocal score 9780193355576

The first of Three Latin Motets, ‘Ave Regina’ is a gentle and

lyrical setting of the text ‘Hail, Queen of the Heavens’.

The calm and memorable opening phrase is hinted at in

passages of more intensity, and its partial statement at the

end leaves it lingering after the voices have faded away.

2 minutes

Bless to me this day

SSA or SATB and piano or organ

SSA Vocal score 9780193386211

SSA Digital 9780193535879

SATB Digital † 9780193545434

Bless to me this day is a tranquil setting of ‘The Journey

Prayer’ from the Celtic compendium Carmina Gadelica.

The sense of prescient optimism is captured in the flowing

piano part, while the simplicity of the vocal lines enables

the text to be imparted with warmth and sincerity.

4 minutes

Cecilia, Busy Like a Bee

Soprano solo and SSATB unaccompanied

Vocal score 9780193413757

Cecilia, Busy Like a Bee is a reflective and reverential setting

of a text adapted from the Divine Office for St Cecilia’s Day.

The influence of plainchant is particularly apparent in the

soprano solo, and McDowall intersperses effective imitative

passages amidst homophonic writing with rich harmonies.

5.5 minutes

Celestial Fire

SSATB and organ

Vocal score 9780193396999

The hymn ‘Come, Holy Ghost’ lies at the heart of Celestial

Fire. Here, McDowall has woven the exquisite poetry of

Denise Levertov into this expressive and uplifting piece.

At times quietly meditative, Celestial Fire unfolds to a most

joyous, affirmative conclusion.

4 minutes

De Profundis (Night Raid)

SSATB and organ

Vocal score 9780193522954

Digital 9780193538375

This atmospheric anthem commemorates the First World

War. It sets a stark English text by Dr Joseph Spence

alongside Latin text from Psalm 130, with the words ‘In

memoriam’ added. The lower parts sing Spence’s English

text, conveying the relentless hardship of life in the

trenches with declamatory and constantly developing

vocal lines. The sopranos, meanwhile, repeat the Latin

words from Psalm 130, providing a striking contrast in their

constancy and otherworldliness.

5.5 minutes

Deus, portus pacis

SSATB unaccompanied

Vocal score 9780193368347

This anthem sets a medieval English poem to

contemplative music with all the hallmarks of McDowall’s

style: expressive melismas, well-placed astringent

harmonies, and a strong modal feel.

5.5 minutes

Easter Light

SATB and organ

Vocal score 9780193415713

Digital 9780193537095

With a newly written text by Angier Brock, this compelling

anthem is a welcome addition to the traditional Easter

repertoire. Easter Light explores a variety of styles and

colours, from organ solos suggestive of the song of the

Eastern meadowlark to a meditative section in the manner

of plainchant.

4.5 minutes

God be with us

SATB unaccompanied

Vocal score 9780193543904

Digital 9780193543928

This uplifting anthem sets the Invocation text from

Carmina Gadelica. McDowall’s beautiful melodies flow and

intertwine, decorated by scotch snaps that reflect the text’s

origin. Suitable for services or concerts. Also published in

Breath of Song.

2.5 minutes

God is Light

SSATB unaccompanied

Vocal score 9780193415652

God is Light sets lines from Psalm 139, 1 Thessalonians,

and 1 John. It moves from an unsettled tonality at the

beginning, through anguished false relations and wistful

expressivity, to find triumphant resolution in a blazing A

major at the end. Like all of McDowall’s music, it is well

crafted and singable.

5 minutes

I know that my redeemer liveth

SSA(A)TB unaccompanied

Vocal score 9780193417557

Digital 9780193537217

This attractive motet was written for performance

alongside Brahms’s Requiem, following the precedent of

Handel’s famous setting of the same text being sung at the

premiere of the Requiem in 1868. The gracefully sculpted

music clothes the text with touching melodies, expressive

harmonies, and varied sonorities.

4.5 minutes

Choral Leaflets/Octavos Sacred


SSATB and organ

Vocal score 9780193396982

McDowall’s Candlemas is a celebratory and powerful piece.

Making use of choral divisions and suspensions, and a

dynamic organ part, this setting of Denise Levertov’s text is

reverent, yet joyous, and is ideal for a liturgical setting.

5 minutes



Choral Leaflets/Octavos Sacred

I obey thee, O Lord (Lacrimosa)

SATB (with divisions) and piano or organ

Vocal score 9780193529052

Digital 9780193531673

The third movement of McDowall’s powerful Da Vinci

Requiem, ‘I obey thee, O Lord’ is a compelling pairing of the

‘Lacrimosa’ text from the Latin Missa pro defunctis with

extracts from The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, and has

a poignant, tender simplicity. The composer has reworked

the keyboard part from the parent work to facilitate

performance by piano or organ.

4.5 minutes

Jesu, the very thought of thee

SSAATTBB and organ

Vocal score 9780193378346

This poignant anthem was originally composed to be sung

at a funeral. It is a beautifully composed work, sufficiently

sombre for such an occasion, but with a celebratory

element that is uplifting and comforting.

8.5 minutes

Light Eternal

SSATB, organ, and opt. tubular bell or handbell

Vocal score 9780193394698

Light Eternal brings together the liturgical text for

Remembrance, Lux Aeterna, and the evocative poetry

of Denise Levertov. Commissioned as part of a trilogy,

Light Eternal has a haunting and exotic quality, the music

beautifully illustrating the sense of the texts. Suitable

for Remembrance and other occasions of solemn


4 minutes

The Lord is Good

Two soprano soloists and SATB (with divisions)


Vocal score 9780193382657

This engagingly written piece sets the Lamentations of

Jeremiah. The overlapping passages of music passed

between the soloists and the choir create a dramatic effect,

whilst the harmonic language gives the music a sense of


5 minutes

Love Incorruptible

SSATB unaccompanied

Vocal score 9780193524194

Digital 9780193538511

Love Incorruptible sets words from Ephesians that explore

the themes of love and kindness. The anthem begins with

the directive ‘Let all bitterness and wrath and anger be

put away, awake!’, set in a way that engenders a mood of

reflection and hopefulness. The tender central section is

built around the words ‘Be kind, tender-hearted, one to

another’, while the closing section presents a compelling

contrast of emphatic ‘awake!’ declarations in the upper

voices and punchily rhythmic repetitions of the titular

words in the lower voices.

4 minutes

The Loving Memory

SATB (with divisions) and organ

Vocal score 9780193514461

This joyous, upbeat anthem sets a compelling poem by

contemporary poet Seán Street in response to a text by

sixteenth-century Bishop of Norwich John Parkhurst

on the subject of ‘alma mater’. The text encourages us

to appreciate the past, our education, and where it can

lead, reflecting on the profound ties we can form to a

time or a place. The bright, driving organ part, with solo

interjections, is juxtaposed with sustained vocal writing

and its rich, lush harmonies.

4 minutes

O sing unto the Lord

SATB (with divisions) and organ

Vocal score 9780193410794

Digital 9780193536753

This joyful setting of Psalm 98 is a bright and celebratory

anthem of praise. The intricate organ writing offsets

emphatic statements from the choir full of melodic

and harmonic interest while grounded in assertive


4 minutes

A Prayer of St Columba

SATB or SABar and organ or piano

SATB Vocal score 9780193533844

SATB Digital 9780193533851

SABar Vocal score 9780193519053

SABar Digital 9780193531222

A Prayer of St Columba is an expressive and emotive

anthem with appealing, arching melodies underpinned by

a sparkling organ part.

3.5 minutes

A Prayer to St John the Baptist

SATB and organ

Vocal score 9780193527836

Digital 9780193531529

A Prayer to St John the Baptist sets an artfully crafted text

that combines Guido d’Arezzo’s Ut queant laxis (itself a

Hymn to John the Baptist, as well as a medieval musicteaching

mnemonic) with Thomas Merton’s poem on

the same subject. The organ’s flowing quavers represent

Merton’s baptismal ‘rivers of water’, while the largely

octatonic melodies conjure a tellingly mysterious


4 minutes

Preces and Responses

SATB unaccompanied

Vocal score 9780193381483

This set of Preces and Responses was commissioned by the

London Festival of Contemporary Church Music for their

2010 festival. The work is uplifting, beautifully crafted, and

perfect for those seeking new material for the liturgy.

6 minutes

Psalm 65

Soprano solo, SATB, organ or keyboard, and opt.


Vocal score 9780193400948

Trumpet part 9780193412538

This joyful and richly expressive choral cantata is a setting

of what is often thought of as a Thanksgiving psalm or

a psalm in praise of Harvest time. From its atmospheric

opening through to its upbeat ending, the work contrasts

driving rhythms with quietly reflective passages for

soprano solo. Performable with or without trumpet, Psalm

65 is a vibrant concert work and a great joy to sing.

12 minutes

Regina Caeli

SSAA or SATB unaccompanied

SSAA vocal score 9780193400955

SATB vocal score 9780193439221

SATB Digital 9780193537941

This hymn to the ‘Queen of the Heavens’ is a glorious work,

replete with dramatic changes of mood and texture. The

majestic chords of the opening bars quickly give way to

a spirited exchange between the voices. This pattern of

contrasts is repeated throughout the piece before the

final jubilant chords fade away to pianissimo. This is an

approachable and rewarding motet, appropriate for any

time of the year and, in particular, the Feast of the Blessed

Virgin Mary and Eastertide.

3 minutes

Rise heart; thy Lord is risen

SSATB unaccompanied

Vocal score 9780193532694

Digital 9780193532700

This expressive, proclamatory setting of verses from

George Herbert’s ‘Easter’ features eminently singable vocal

lines, antiphonal writing, and imaginative word-painting.

4 minutes

Standing as I do before God

Soprano solo and SATB unaccompanied

Vocal score 9780193407626

Setting a text spoken by Nurse Edith Cavell on the eve of

her execution in 1915 and re-fashioned by the poet Seán

Street, McDowall has created a work of haunting beauty

full of gently lamenting harmonies. The sombre subject

matter makes the piece equally suitable for funerals and

Remembrance Day celebrations.

7 minutes

Vita Mundo

SATB and organ

Vocal score 9780193402850

A setting of Psalm 127 (Unless the Lord builds the house),

this compelling anthem possesses a luminescent quality

supported by radiant harmonic textures. It is framed by

Latin text taken from the Saxon stone cross at St Paul’s,

Jarrow, associated with St Bede, and set in quasi-plainchant

fashion. Psalm 127 is one of the Psalms of Ascent, often

occurring throughout the liturgical calendar. With an

elegant simplicity, Vita Mundo is uplifting and rewarding to


5 minutes

Choral Leaflets/Octavos Sacred



Choral Works Secular

Everyday Wonders: The Girl from


SSAA or upper voices and SATB, solo violin, and


Upper voices and SATB vocal score 9780193522589

SSAA vocal score 9780193533868

Violin part 9780193524842

Everyday Wonders: The Girl from Aleppo tells the

extraordinary story of Nujeen Mustafa, a Kurdish teenager

with cerebral palsy forced by war to flee her home and

embark on an arduous journey to Europe with her sister.

In this five-movement cantata Nujeen’s story—recounted

in her biography ‘The Girl from Aleppo’ (co-authored by

Christina Lamb)—is retold by Kevin Crossley-Holland and

richly scored by Cecilia McDowall. A wealth of musical

effects are employed to capture the narrative, including

chorales, rhythmic spoken sections, body percussion, and

a solo violin part infused with Middle Eastern flavours. The

prevailing mood of Nujeen’s story is embodied by the final

line of a chorale that bookends this unique concert work:

‘singing the song of life itself.’

18 minutes

A Fancy of Folksongs

SATB and harp or piano

Vocal score 9780193368767

Harp part 9780193368750

Hire vocal scores 9780193376779

Harp part on hire 9780193376762

This delightful work brings together arrangements of four

well-loved folksongs: ‘Green Bushes’, ‘The Rambling Sailor’,

‘The Crystal Spring’, and ‘O, No John!’. A joyful celebration

of youthful love and courtship, it bears all the hallmarks of

McDowall’s appealing and popular style: rhythmic vitality,

occasional astringent harmonies, and strong melodies,

creating a distinctive and fresh sound.

11 minutes

Choral Works Secular

Night Flight

Shipping Forecast

SSATB and piano or string orchestra

Vocal score 9780193379725

Hire conductor’s score and parts 9780193386877

Shipping Forecast is in three movements: ‘Donegal’, ‘They

that go down to the sea in ships’, and ‘Naming’. The first

and last movements are settings of poems by the poet,

broadcaster, and academic, Seán Street. In ‘Donegal’,

snatches of the shipping forecast are woven into the

atmospheric texture of the poem. The second movement

is a setting of the Psalm 107: 23-26 | 28-29. Energetic, in

perpetual motion, and rhythmic, ‘Naming’ drives the whole

work to an upbeat finish.

13 minutes

A Time for all Seasons

Soprano solo, upper voices, SSATB, piano,

and opt. percussion

Vocal score 9780193411487

An evocative cantata that explores the complexities of the

human condition. The well-known ‘To every thing there is a

season’ text from Ecclesiastes is interwoven with a modernday

reworking of verses by poet Kevin Crossley-Holland.

McDowall’s impressive range of musical styles, effective

antiphonal writing, and juxtaposition of textures create a

meaningful experience for the listener. The part for upper

voices may also be sung by a children’s choir.

18 minutes

When time is broke

Three Shakespeare Songs

SSAA or SSATB unaccompanied

SSAA vocal score 9780193413740

SSATB vocal score 9780193408241

Cecilia McDowall’s fresh and appealing style is amply

displayed in this cycle, subtitled ‘Three Shakespeare Songs’.

In total, six Shakespeare texts are used, and McDowall’s

response encompasses a fleet-footed impression of

Scottish fiddle music, a gorgeously plangent slow

movement, and a helter-skelter finale that broadens to a

mysteriously pitchless ending.

11 minutes

Choral Leaflets/Octavos Secular

As Each Leaf Dances

Soprano solo, SSATB, and organ

Vocal score 9780193517868

As Each Leaf Dances is a setting of a powerful text by Kevin

Crossley-Holland about the cruelty of child abuse being

overcome by love and kindness. Reflecting this, the first

section features a relentless organ part, jagged vocal lines,

and dissonant harmonies, before giving way to a jaunty,

dancing, and uplifting second section.

6 minutes

Be not afeard

SSATB unaccompanied

Vocal score 9780193525627

Digital 9780193538665

An atmospheric and expressive setting of Caliban’s dream

from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, this piece transports

the listener to a mysterious, dream-like place. McDowall

effectively employs melismas and ornaments to create

a sense of the other-worldly, and her rich, immersive

harmonies perfectly characterize the reverie Shakespeare’s

protagonist describes.

3 minutes

Come Home, Little Sister

SSAA and piano

Vocal score 9780193518216

Digital 9780193537453

This delicate, spring-like poem, by poet Kevin Crossley-

Holland, is an affectionate salutation to a newborn

babe. The poet tells that the parents couldn’t decide on

a name for their baby, and that instead of imposing an

inappropriate name on her, they will welcome her into the

garden of the world and wait for her to ‘declare’ herself.

After a hushed introduction of whispered welcomes, the

voices burst into a dance-like song in celebration of the

new arrival’s homecoming.

5.5 minutes

Drink the Sky

SA, piano, and percussion

Vocal score 9780193393516

Digital 9780193536135

This is an uplifting and expressive setting of a fun,

descriptive text by Christie Dickason that characterizes

the sky in an imaginative way. The compelling melodies

are underpinned by a dynamic piano part, often featuring

rippling quavers, and characterful interjections from the

glockenspiel and suspended cymbal complement the


4.5 minutes

Joy and Woe are woven fine

SSATB unaccompanied

Vocal score 9780193385504

This poignant anthem, with text by William Blake, was

originally composed to be sung at a funeral. It is a

beautifully composed work, sufficiently sombre for such an

occasion, but with a celebratory element which is uplifting

and comforting.

2.5 minutes

Love’s Philosophy

SSATB unaccompanied

Vocal score 9780193407855

Setting a well-known poem by Percy Shelley, Love’s

Philosophy is a sweet and tender choral song reflecting

on the idea of love with reference to nature and the

interdependent relationships evident in the world around

us. Mellifluous choral writing and sighing ‘ah’ interjections

convey the sometimes wistful feel of Shelley’s words, and

numerous repetitions of ‘thou’ at the end of the piece

emphasize the theme of unrequited or lost love.

4 minutes

Choral Leaflets/Octavos Secular

SSATB and cello

Vocal score 9780193408227

Cello part 9780193408210

Night Flight was written to mark the centenary of Harriet

Quimby’s pioneering flight across the English channel.

Setting texts by Sheila Bryer on the powers of the sea,

earth, and air, McDowall uses vocal clusters and haunting

solo cello lines to highlight the sense of fear, awe, and

majesty experienced by an individual pitted against the


13 minutes



Choral Leaflets/Octavos Secular

Now is the Time

SATB or SSA and piano

SATB Vocal score 9780193512603

SATB Digital 9780193544581

SSA Digital † 9780193545441

Written for the 2016 ‘Requiem to Cancer’ event at St Paul’s

Church, Covent Garden, Now is the Time sets hopeful and

inspirational words by Marie Curie. McDowall’s setting is

optimistic and appealing, with charming interplay between

the voices and piano.

3.5 minutes

Photo 51

SSATB unaccompanied

Vocal score 9780193543621

Digital 9780193549067

Composed for International Women’s Day, this

mesmerising piece celebrates the centennary of Rosalind

Franklin and sets her own words with additional text

by the poet Seán Street. McDowall’s tribute to this

underappreciated chemist and crystallographer combines

intricate, intertwining melodies with ethereal harmonies

beautifully capturing Franklin’s part in the discovery of the

double helix structure.

4 minutes

A red, red rose

Soprano solo and SSATB

Vocal score 9780193400917

Written for the wedding of the composer’s niece in 2012,

this piece affectionately sets a poem of the same title

by Robert Burns. It was first performed by Chantage in

London’s Church of Scotland, St Columba’s, conducted by

James Davey. With something intrinsically Scottish about

it, this setting of the well-loved poem, although written

specifically for a wedding, would suit almost any occasion.

5 minutes

Sigh no more, ladies

SATB and piano

Would Like To Meet

SSA and piano

Vocal score 9780193402607

Digital 9780193535947

Would Like To Meet is taken from a suite of three pieces

by Cecilia McDowall called Lonely Hearts, composed in

2005. The whimsical text by Christie Dickason is a lonely

hearts column written from the perspective of various

animals and plants, and this imaginative theme is perfectly

complemented by McDowall’s spirited and fun setting. The

mood is light and energetic, the piano part characterful,

and the accessible and appealing vocal lines feature

interspersions of scat writing.

2.5 minutes

Advent & Christmas Works

Christus Natus Est

Soprano solo, SATB, children’s choir, and piano/

organ/chamber orchestra/brass

Vocal score 9780193358935

Hire score and parts - brass quintet 9780193359178

Hire score and parts - chamber version 9780193359185

Hire vocal scores 9780193376755

This Christmas cantata presents a sequence of five carols.

McDowall gives the familiar melodies a colourful, new

harmonic treatment, and the arrangements range in

atmosphere from tenderness to joyful exaltation.

Personent Hodie • Entre le boeuf • Gaudete • Infant holy,

infant lowly • Angelus ad virginem

15 minutes

A Winter’s Night

SATB, brass quintet, organ, and percussion

Vocal score 9780193403680

Hire conductor’s score and parts 9780193403697

Hire vocal scores 9780193411647

This engaging fifteen-minute cantata combines several

popular carols to create a performance full of Christmas

spirit. Through creative re-harmonization, rhythmic

variation, and imaginative linking passages, McDowall

creates a joyful atmosphere, with both familiar and

surprising material.

15 minutes

Advent & Christmas Works

Digital † 9780193545427

To mark the four hundredth anniversary of the death of

William Shakespeare, the anthology Shall I compare thee?

features ten Shakespeare settings by Oxford composers.

This piece by Cecilia McDowall sets the famous text from

Much Ado About Nothing and is available separately in

digital format only.

3 minutes



Advent & Christmas Leaflets/Octavos

Advent Moon

SATB, organ, and opt. handbells

Vocal score 9780193403406

Through luminous choral harmonies, images of a winter

night, and echoes of scripture, Advent Moon evokes deep

human longing as well as the promise of the coming of

light. The delicate organ accompaniment and optional

handbells underscore both the haunting opening and the

radiant conclusion of this piece.

4 minutes


SATB (with divisions) unaccompanied

Vocal score 9780193519770

Digital 9780193537866

Annunciation is an expressive and expansive Advent

carol based on words from John Donne’s Holy Sonnets.

McDowall creates a captivating atmosphere as the voices

explore a soundworld that is mystical, reflective, and

bright. The sensitive part-writing and accessible vocal lines

will enable choirs of all types to profess the carol’s message

of ‘salvation to all’.

4 minutes

Before the paling of the stars

SATB and organ

Vocal score 9780193396951

This tender carol sets an affecting text by Christina Rossetti

that tells the story of Jesus’s birth. In classic McDowall

style, the setting explores a variety of choral textures and

is interspersed with unexpected harmonies, creating a

range of musical colours. The organ part provides a gentle,

supportive accompaniment.

4 minutes

Advent & Christmas


Brightest Star

SSATB unaccompanied

Vocal score 9780193532113

Digital 9780193539617

Written to commemorate the centenary of the foundation

of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red

Crescent Societies, Brightest Star sets a powerful text by

Seán Street. The poem describes the call for assistance

made by the occupied Channel Islands in 1944 and the

response of the Red Cross ship, the Vega, which came to

their aid, drawing parallels between this story and the

light and hope of the seasons of Christmas and Epiphany.

The bleak wartime conditions are portrayed by dissonant

harmony and downward sliding phrases, and extracts

from the Bailiff of Jersey’s letter of appeal, sung by the

lower voices, draw attention to the gravity of the situation.

In contrast, the upper voices bring an ethereal quality to

the texture, with closing phrases that are suggestive of

the traditional French carol Les anges dans nos campagnes

(‘Angels, from the realms of glory’).

4 minutes

Christ is the morning star

SATB and organ

Vocal score 9780193408289

This lively setting of the Venerable Bede’s Christ is the

morning star features all the hallmarks of McDowall’s

original and vibrant style. With rich harmonies, compelling

modulations, and a flowing organ accompaniment, this

piece is perfect for services and concerts throughout


3.5 minutes

A Christmas Carol

SATB and organ

Vocal score 9780193551619

Digital 9780193551626

This setting of the evocative poem by Chesterton is

atmospheric and powerful. Showcasing McDowall’s

distinctive style, its minor tonality, subtle chromaticisms,

and whole-tone scales portray the contrasting voices in the

text to breathtaking effect.

3 minutes

Cradle Song

SA and piano

Digital † 9780193545762

This exquisite lullaby setting of a William Blake text is taken

from the collection For Him all Stars.

2 minutes

Gaude et laetare

SATB and organ

Vocal score 9780193401495

Digital 9780193535893

For this joyous piece, McDowall sets a text from the

Ambrosian Rite celebrating the Virgin Mary’s recent

motherhood. The lively organ accompaniment and strong

rhythmic drive create an instantly celebratory mood.

3.5 minutes

Lo! He slumbers in his manger

SATB unaccompanied

Vocal score 9780193535671

Digital 9780193539624

McDowall’s setting of Isaac Watts’ Cradle Hymn is beautifully

tender, coloured by its rich harmonies, suspensions, and

chromatic notes. The melodies are complemented by

sustained ‘oo’s and ‘ah’s and rock gently with the changing

time signatures, before ending unexpectedly in the tonic


2.5 minutes

Now may we singen

SATB unaccompanied

Vocal score 9780193396968

Digital 9780193525030

Setting a fifteenth-century English text containing some

short Latin passages, this is a joyful, dance-like carol with

a medieval feel. The spirited, lilting melody begins in the

sopranos and altos but is passed round the choir, while the

other voices add stirring harmonies and bell-like drones to

the texture. ‘Now may we singen’ was originally published

in the New Horizons collection The Ivy and the Holly.

4 minutes

O Oriens

SSATB (with divisions) unaccompanied

Vocal score 9780193388369

Digital 9780193524996

A setting of one of the seven Advent ‘O’ Antiphons, O

Oriens makes use of luxurious and exotic harmonies,

creating a shimmering texture reminiscent of the biblical

Morning Star referenced in the title. The focus on human

enlightenment in winter’s darkness means the piece is

equally suitable for secular celebrations of Christmas.

3.5 minutes

The Presence

SATB double choir unaccompanied

Vocal score 9780193511989

Digital 9780193537798

This joyous, upbeat anthem sets a compelling poem by

contemporary poet Seán Street in response to a text by

sixteenth-century Bishop of Norwich John Parkhurst on

the subject of ‘alma mater’. The text encourages us to

appreciate the past, and our education, and where it can

lead, reflecting on the profound ties we can form to a

time or a place. The bright, driving organ part, with solo

interjections, is juxtaposed with sustained vocal writing

with rich, lush harmonies.

5 minutes

Advent & Christmas Leaflets/Octavos



Small Ensemble

Are we on the same page?

String quartet

Score and parts 9780193373679

Written as the test piece for the CAVATINA Intercollegiate

String Quartet Competition, this short piece gives

ensembles an opportunity to display creativity by allowing

experimentation with texture, dynamics, and articulation.

3 minutes

The Blackbird

Wind quintet and opt. voice

Score and parts 9780193378322

The Blackbird is a beautiful arrangement of a Welsh

folksong. English translation by Margery Hargest Jones.

5 minutes

Rousseau’s Execution

Two violins and viola

Score and parts 9780193390775

This work for string trio is inspired by Jean-Jacques

Rousseau’s Dictionnaire de Musique, with each of the three

movements initiated by one of Rousseau’s musical entries.

9 minutes

Small Ensemble

Subject to the weather

Orchestral/Larger Works

Crossing the Bridge

String orchestra

Hire conductor’s score and parts 9780193386860

The title of this work comes from a haiku by the poet Alan

Spence: ‘crossing the bridge - the other side is lost in mist’.

The opening movement, ‘Mostar’, refers to the single arch

stone bridge in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, which

became a symbol of peace and hope in the late 1990’s. The

middle movement, ‘London Bridge’, takes the last phrase of

‘Mostar’ as its opening, exploring the darker tones of the

lower instruments, and the first bar of ‘Brooklyn Bridge’ as

its close. The third movement opens with a bright, staccato

texture, and is in the shape of a palindrome or arch.

11 minutes

Great Hills

Violin solo, two solo flutes, and string orchestra

Hire conductor’s score and parts 9780193366435

A pastiche on baroque techniques, this varied work is

ideal for amateur orchestras. It is a concertante written as

a companion piece to Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 4.

Taking its title from the poem The South Country by Hilaire

Belloc, Great Hills is inspired by the locality of Shipley, the

connections are pastoral, historic, literary, and musical.

12 minutes

Rain, Steam, and Speed

Seventy degrees below zero

Tenor solo and orchestra

Hire conductor’s score and parts 9780193387256

Commissioned by the Scott Polar Research Institute and

City of London Sinfonia as part of the Scott 100 Festival

of Events, 2012. Seán Street was specially commissioned

by the composer to write two poems for Seventy degrees

below zero to sit alongside extracts from Robert Falcon

Scott’s Journals and Scott’s letter addressed, ‘To my widow.’

Set in three movements—‘We Measure’, ‘The Ice Tree’, and

‘To My Widow’ —McDowall’s music creates a soundscape

set in the icy plains of the Antarctic, with a poignant finale

as Scott writes to his wife for the last time.

15 minutes

Theatre of Tango

Baritone, solo violin, and chamber orchestra

Hire conductor’s score and parts 9780193378872

Theatre of Tango begins with ‘The Dance’, which is full of

rhythmic intensity and passion. This is contrasted by the

haunting, spectral-like second movement,’ Ghost Light’, in

which tubular bells and plucked strings contrast with high

strings and lyrical voice line. The third movement, ‘A Tango

of Time’, is perhaps the most clearly underpinned by the

Argentine tango. With shades of menace and ruthlessness

in this movement, Time steers its course towards an

inevitable end. Texts by Seán Street.

17 minutes

Orchestral/Larger works

Wind quintet

Chamber orchestra

Score and parts 9780193378292

Hire conductor’s score and parts 9780193407787

Subject to the Weather draws inspiration from the Welsh

folk song The Blackbird and references Wesley’s hymn tune

Aurelia: The Church’s one Foundation. The music evokes

country life and birdsong in a charming, engaging style.

5 minutes

The composer’s inspiration for this work was the Turner

painting of the same name that depicts a broad gauge

engine steaming across Maidenhead Viaduct. Cecilia

McDowall conveys a feeling of wide open spaces and

pastoral repose in the opening section. From out of the

calm, a clear rhythmic motif, pianissimo at first, rattles to a

full orchestral crescendo, then gradually fades from view.

10 minutes



Solo Voice

Four Shakespeare Songs

Soprano and piano or string orchestra

Vocal score 9780193396944

Conductor’s score and parts on hire 9780193392823

Four Shakespeare Songs sets texts exploring different

aspects of love. Using passages from various Shakespeare

plays, McDowall’s writing is beautiful and clever in the

way it reflects the moods and emotions of the various


10 minutes

If I touched the Earth

Baritone and piano

Vocal score 9780193404021

This work, commissioned by Jeremy Williams in association

with the Vaughan Williams Trust, sets three poems by Dylan

Thomas. The first is melancholic; the second contrasts the

fearlessness of childhood with the caution of adulthood;

and the third is a joyful setting that moves through the


8 minutes

Three Songs after Schubert

Baritone and piano

Vocal score 9780193531857

Digital 9780193544475

This characterful trilogy of songs sets poems by John

Greening that present a vibrant, modern take on each

of Schubert’s song cycles. The first draws on ‘Gute nacht’

from Der Winterreise, taking inspiration from Captain

Scott’s perilous expedition to the Antarctic in 1911–12.

The second, ‘after Ständchen’, has an air of darkness and

mystery. The text of the third song alludes to Schubert’s

‘Mein’ from Die Schöne Müllerin, and the musical setting is

characterized by rapid semiquaver figuration in the piano

and a vocal line full of dramatic expression.

10 minutes

Solo Voice

Falling Angels

Solo cello and piano

Score and parts 9780193371668

This piece draws inspiration from the book City of Falling

Angels, which gives a rich portrayal of Venice. The use of

extended melodies contrasted with fragmented phrases

portray the beauty of this city.

8 minutes



Score 9780193406131

Composed for the University of Portsmouth’s degree

ceremonies, this work captures the joy and excitement of

such occasions, partly through the incorporation of text

from Thomas Ravenscroft’s round ‘To Portsmouth’.

6.5 minutes

Church bells beyond the stars


Score 9780193393363

This is the third in a trilogy of works inspired by the

metaphysical poet, George Herbert. This piece, and the first

in the trilogy, ‘Sounding Heaven and Earth’, draw their titles

from George Herbert’s ‘Prayer (I)’.

5 minutes

First Flight


Solo Instrumental

Score 9780193551497

Digital 9780193551503

This inventive work, composed in 2019, owes its title to

that year’s two great anniversaries connected to manned

flight: the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing and

the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci.

A wide range of highly effective textures and atmospheric

harmonies draws the player and the listener through a

journey that eventually reaches D major for the gloriously

affirmative ending.

O Antiphon Sequence


Score 9780193522947

Digital 9780193544499

In this piece, commissioned by the American Guild of

Organists, each movement responds to liturgical text taken

from the O Antiphons. The movements vary from lively and

capricious to thoughtful and meditative.

15 minutes

Sacred and hallowed fire


Score 9780193394018

Sacred and hallowed fire was commissioned by Harrison

& Harrison as part of their 150 years celebration of organ

building. It is one of a trilogy of works for organ by

McDowall which draws from the poetry of George Herbert.

6.5 minutes

Sounding Heaven and Earth


Score 9780193378865

Sounding heaven and earth is the first piece in a trilogy of

works inspired by ‘Prayer (I)’, a sonnet by George Herbert.

6 minutes

Wo Gott de Herr nicht bei uns hält


Score 9780193386624

The Orgelbüchlein Project is a long running project to

complete Bach’s unfinished collection of organ music.

McDowall has composed music for ‘ghost’ Chorale 119

(336) BWV 258 as her contribution to completing the set.

3 minutes

Solo Instrumental

5.5 minutes



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