Real and Right and True

Real and Right and True
Calvin Bowman
Decca Eloquence
Catalogue No.

Real and Right and True marks the debut of prolific Australian composer Calvin Bowman on the Decca (Australia) label. The album title is derived from a set of nine poems by celebrated Australian cartoonist, writer and painter Michael Leunig, whose beautiful painting ‘Autumn Harvest’ also graces the cover artwork.

Bowman specialises in artsong and has, to date, written nearly a hundred songs with more constantly on the way. He is a laureate of the Ned Rorem Award for Song Composition, the Diana Barnhart American Song Competition, and the English Poetry and Song Society Artsong Award. Bowman is the only Australian composer to ever have been exclusively featured on the prestigious Decca label aside from Percy Grainger. His songs have been lauded by many luminaries including Barbara Bonney, Sir Neville Marriner and Lee Hoiby, and are recognized for their technical prowess and humanity.

In this remarkable debut offering, three of Australia’s finest singers – Sara Macliver, Paul McMahon and Christopher Richardson – join forces to record over fifty of Bowman’s acclaimed artsongs.



1-3 Three Night Songs
4-6 Three Sea Songs
7 The Rainbow
8 The Swing
9 Tune for Swans
10 The Dodo
11 The Last Swallow
12 Now Touch the Air Softly
13 Murraguldrie Pastorale I
14 Murraguldrie Pastorale II
15 Words by the Water
16 Ferry Me Across the Water
17-19 Three Songs
20 Eheu! Fugaces
21 My Own Country
22 Little Prelude after the Master

CD 2

1 Homage
2 Sallie’s Musical Box
3-11 Real and Right and True
12 Summer Comes with Colour
13 Mother, I Cannot Mind My Wheel
14 Don Grant’s Dragonfly
15-21 Seven Epitaphs
22 Song for Silverheels
23 Tulip
24 The Seasons
25 West Sussex Drinking Song
26 The Early Morning
27 Crossing the Bar
28 Alta Quies
29 Escape at Bedtime
30 The Night
31 The Birds
32 Unpausing
33 Small Song: Bath
34 Noël

Sara Macliver, soprano
Paul McMahon, tenor
Christopher Richardson, bass-baritone
Ian Munro, piano
Calvin Bowman, piano

Recording information

Recording Producer & Engineer: Phil Rowlands
Editor: Tim Burton
Recording Location: Iwaki Auditorium, ABC Southbank, Melbourne, Australia, 23–26 May 2017


“Bowman paints with a delicate palette: sparing and subtle, but almost always effective and evocative. The opening song, Silver, shows what a fine colourist he is, not to mention being achingly tender (Now Touch the Air Softly), poignant (Tune for Swans) and jauntily witty (The Dodo). The title comes from his song cycle of nine poems by the irresistible Michael Leunig​: quirky words and music that pack a psychological punch. Macliver​ is ravishing, especially in her pure, sweet higher register, while McMahon and Richardson share her intimate understanding, singing expressively, sensitively and with clarity. It’s wonderful to keep the lieder legacy alive.” The Age

“Bowman’s charming miniatures with their fine attention to textual and musical detail are a perfect antidote to world-weariness.” Limelight