EDWARD COWIE (b.1943): Streams and Particles - Particle Partita, Basho Meditations, Stream and Variations, Kandinsky, Kandinsky's Oboe. Spectrum Guitar Quartet, Mihailo Trandafilovski, Peter Sheppard Skærved , Saki Kato, Christopher Redgate, Miyabi Duo
Catalogue Number: 11Y031
Description: Cowie is a fascinating composer, unclassifiable and unique: this we already know. In this extraordinary recital of tiny pieces, he ventures even further outside the boundaries that mean nothing to him, and synthesises music from even more diverse elements than usual. Scientific inquiry, a highly accomplished and original style of graphic art, an extensive study of all aspects of the natural world, and an unerring ability to encapsulate the essence of an idea, time, or place, in music come together in these pieces. Uniquely positioned by his polymathic, multidisciplinary approach to - well, everything - he forges connections between particle physics, abstract art, the whorls and patterns of flowing water, and the dizzying subatomic collisions of ideas and words in Haiku, as laid out in his brilliant, illustrated, accompanying essay. The eight movements of the Particle Partita scintillate and leave evanescent traces of the interactions between the two violins. Basho Meditations is a set of eight very short pieces inspired by Haiku written by the 17th century poet and philosopher, Basho. The composer quotes Basho epitomising not only his way of thinking but the ongoing analogy between Nature and Music: "The Temple Bell stops but I still hear the sound coming out of flowers...". Less explosive than the particle collisions, the guitar duo's fragments bounce enigmatically off each other, creating similar patterns. Stream and Variations was commissioned by Julian Bream, with a request to evoke the motion of the River Sem, near his home in Wiltshire. Cowie's imagination immediately developed the idea of still pools, rippling currents, whorls and eddies into a series of acoustic line drawings in a non-traditional yet wholly idiomatic guitar vocabulary. Kandinsky, for guitar quartet, is a striking evocation of the great painter’s concept of the structural and dynamic paradigms of form in nature and art in his Bauhaus lectures on Points, Lines, and Planes, in what must be one of the most synæsthetically complete merging of graphic art and music in the entire repertoire, something that Cowie is uniquely qualified to accomplish. Kandinsky's Oboe revisits the same ideas, but for a solo instrument in a fearsomely virtuosic kaleidoscope of fleeting gestures, colliding and ricocheting in a multiplicity of notes, rhythms, dynamic changes and alterations of timbre, like a Kandinsky painting animated into perpetual motion.