Debut Discs
NMC supports gifted early-career composers with its Debut Discs series


1-3 Lyra 22'42
Oliver Coates, cello | BBC National Orchestra of Wales | Grant Llewellyn, conductor

4-8 Five Memos 16'33
Hyeyoon Park, violin | Huw Watkins, piano

9-11 Heartland 22'32
Julian Warburton, percussion | BBC National Orchestra of Wales  Grant Llewellyn, conductor

12 Sudden Light 16'54
BBC National Orchestra of Wales | Grant Llewellyn, conductor


Released 2016


'Excellent performances by all involved on the disc do contemporary Mark Bowden proud' BBC Music Magazine ★★★★☆


Mark BowdenMark Bowden's passion for orchestral writing and exploring its enormous timbral range is evident on his debut album of works written over the last decade.


The intoxicating Lyra (2011) for cello and orchestra was described 'as a richly allusive work of considerable scope and ambition' by Seen and Heard International and was Bowden's first commission, as resident composer, for BBC National Orchestra of Wales (BBC NOW). The solo cello part calls for a blistering technique and was written for Oliver Coates, who performs on this recording. The work's title and inspiration has multiple references: a constellation of stars, a bass viol from the seventeenth century, a class of Russian nuclear-powered submarines and the lead character in Philip Pullman's fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials.

Heartland (2012), also commissioned by BBC NOW, was created as both a standalone percussion concerto and a ballet score for the National Dance Company Wales. The Times review of its World Premiere said that the work 'bubbles with fluid, spicy rhythms and pretty celestial ruminations ... watching Julian Warburton play it was a fascinating show in itself’.

Sudden Light (2005) was inspired by Marcus du Sautoy’s book The Music of the Primes and explores the play of consonance and dissonance through the overtones of the harmonic series.

As a contrast to the orchestral works on this album, Five Memos (2015) is a light, airy interplay between violin and piano, performed beautifully by Hyeyoon Park (violin) and Huw Watkins (piano).

Visit Mark Bowden's composer page for more information




With special thanks to Colwinston Charitable Trust, Royal Holloway University of London and RVW Trust for their support of this recording.



Thank you to the trusts, foundations and individuals who have already invested in NMC's Debut Discs series:

The Astor Foundation

The Boltini Trust

The John S Cohen Foundation

Colwinston Charitable Trust

The Fenton Arts Trust

Nicholas and Judith Goodison

Mercers' Charitable Foundation

Stanley Picker Trust

The Radcliffe Trust

RVW Trust

Richard Thomas Foundation


Jennifer Roslyn Wingate

The individuals who donated through The Big Give Christmas Challenge December 2011