Since its formation in 1994, The Ralph Vaughan Williams Society – a registered charity, with more than 1,000 members – has sought to raise the profile of the composer through publications, seminars and sponsorship of performances and recordings. The Society’s successes include the publication of Ursula Vaughan Williams’s autobiography with its main focus on her relationship with Ralph, and the sponsorship of significant performances, beginning with the Albion Opera Festival in London in 1997, followed by many more performances including all five operas in and around the anniversary year of 2008. More recently, the Society has been closely involved with important premičres including the Cambridge (doctoral) Mass
, Willow Wood
, and The Garden of Proserpine
In 2007, the Society launched its record label, Albion Records, devoted to recordings of rare RVW. Our vision is that each Albion CD will contain at least one world premičre recording, and you can see from our list that this vision has been realised again and again.
Our world premičre release of The Garden of Proserpine, an early setting of a poem by Swinburne, spent five weeks on Gramophone Magazine’s Specialist Classical Chart, and joined earlier Albion releases in attracting excellent reviews from Gramophone and others. Amazon gives this and some earlier releases a five star rating. We confidently expect our new recording “On Christmas Day” to be received every bit as warmly.
THE SOLENTThe latest Albion release features four world-premiere recordings
The works included on Albion Records’ latest release, called The Solent, span a period of fifty years in the life of Ralph Vaughan Williams. There are three early compositions that are all world-premiere recordings: Burley Heath, The Solent and Harnham Down from the period 1902 – 07. Yet another world-premiere recording on the disc is the incidental music to Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge, composed in the early 1950s. The CD (ALBCD 016) also includes the three Songs of Travel that were orchestrated by the composer and the beautiful Four Hymns in the rare arrangement for tenor, viola and strings. Overall, this is a most exciting release even by Albion Records standards.
Following on from his success on Albion with Hadley’s Fen and Flood, the conductor is Paul Daniel and he is joined, in the Songs of Travel, by Roland Wood – fresh from singing Pilgrim at the English National Opera – and by Andrew Kennedy in the Four Hymns. The orchestra is the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.
The music to The Solent clearly had a deep significance for Vaughan Williams as he used the haunting melody that opens the work in a number of other compositions including A Sea Symphony (1909) and his Symphony No. 9 in E minor (1957). Listening to these early works will provide fresh understanding of Vaughan Williams’ creative ability in the first decade of the 20th century.
The Solent is available from Albion Records at £10.00 plus £1.80 postage and packing.
Click HERE to buy or download the CD online
27 Landsdowne Way
Bexhill on Sea
Cheques for CDs to be made payable to Albion Records