News and Information

Vaughan Williams’s letters

If you are familiar with Hugh Cobbe’s Letters of Ralph Vaughan Williams 1895–1958, you will understand the gargantuan nature of the task. If in doubt, examine the handwriting (not his worst!) in VW’s letter to Holst below and you will appreciate the scale of the achievement. Now, all RVW’s extant correspondence is being published on-line. The work goes far beyond the published book – a lot of the work was done before the publication so that there were 3,288 letters to select from for the publication. However, quite a few letters have come to light since then so that the current total is 4,358. The editors of the project are now Katharine Hogg and Colin Coleman.

Hugh Cobbe OBE is formerly Head of Music Collections at the British Library and editor of Letters of Ralph Vaughan Williams 1895–1958 and Chairman of the RVW Trust, of the National Folk Music Fund, a former chairman of the Gerald Coke Handel Foundation, and a Past President of the Royal Musical Association.

Visit the website: http://vaughanwilliams.uk/letters-table

Updated 22 December 2017


Beyond My Dream: Music for Greek Plays

“Music of undeniable beauty.” The Globe, 25 May 1912

In 1911, Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote music for three plays by Euripides – The Bacchae, Electra and Iphigenia in Tauris – then newly translated into English verse. Isadora Duncan had danced for the composer and asked him to write music for her to dance to within The Bacchae, and he also worked with the translator, Gilbert Murray. A planned production of Iphigenia in Tauris did not come off, but there was a public performance of the music alone in May 1912. It was described at the time as being music of ‘undeniable beauty’ and Gilbert Murray wrote that the music was set ‘in my judgement extraordinarily well’. The mezzo soprano soloist, Heather Lowe in her recording debut, sometimes sings and sometimes recites the words of the choruses, accompanied by female voices (and additional soloists) from Joyful Company of Singers and by Britten Sinfonia conducted by Alan Tongue. Alan Tongue transcribed the music from parts and scores in the British Library, realising some of it from short score. Albion Records is proud to present more than an hour of unknown but lovely music, from the early maturity of Vaughan Williams, now recorded for the first time.

Order Now. Shipping from 18 November 2017.


Updated 14 November 2017

MISTRESS AND MUSE: Ursula – The second Mrs Vaughan Williams

A Biography by Janet Tennant

This is the first biography of Ursula Vaughan Williams (1911 – 2007), a distinguished poet, novelist and librettist and second wife of the internationally-acclaimed composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. Drawing on narratives and important insights from a fascinating collection of papers, diaries, letters and photographs that until now have been in Ursula’s family, Janet Tennant presents Ursula’s story – a journey which covers her background and early years in a peripatetic army family through to her becoming Ralph Vaughan Williams’s muse, lover and, ultimately, his inspirational second wife.

393 pages including index and 45 b/w illustrations

Visit the Albion Records website: albionmusic.com/mistress-and-muse/

Updated 11 September 2017

I Love My Love

A Folk Song Collection

Arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Cecil Sharp, Lucy Broadwood, Percy Grainger, Gustav Holst, Ethel Smyth and others

The English Singers, Glasgow Orpheus Choir, Fleet Street Choir, onchita Supervia, Steuart Wilson, Frederick Ranalow, Leon Goossens, Adrian Boult, Malcolm Sargent, Hugh Roberton.

Updated 9 August 2017

Conservation of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ original working copy of Bach’s St Matthew Passion score

A Talk by Conservator Victoria Stevens who will give a presentation on the recent restoration of the score, which was used by Vaughan Williams at the Leith Hill Musical Festival. The score will be on view in a specially commissioned display case.

Tuesday 19th September 2017 at Dorking Halls, Surrey
10:30 and to 12.30 pm

The talk is free to Friends and Patrons of the Festival, £7.50 to others (including tea/coffee).
To reserve a place: please email: secretary@lhmf.org.uk or phone: Mandy Begg 07775 745689
For more information visit: http://www.lhmf.org.uk/events-and-tickets/st-matthew-talk/

Updated 25 July 2017

Photo © Leith Hill Musical Festival

Annual General Meeting, Sunday 8 October 2017

Guildhall School of Music & Drama,
Silk Street, Barbican,

14:30 Tea/Coffee
15:00 Annual General Meeting

  1. Welcome by the Chairman
  2. Chairman’s Annual Report
  3. Membership Officer’s Report
  4. Treasurer’s Report
  5. Adoption of the Annual Report and Accounts of The Ralph Vaughan Williams Society for 2016-2017
  6. Election and re-election of trustees and Independent Examiner
  7. Any other business

16:00 Recital by Gareth Brynmor John (Baritone) with William Vann (piano).
17:00 A glass of wine

For complete Order of Events please see attached pdf.

Updated 26 September 2017

William Vann (piano)


Gareth Brynmor John (Baritone)

Anthony Goldstone 1944 – 2017

We are sorry to announce the death of Anthony Goldstone on the morning of 2 January 2017.

Anthony (“Tony”) Goldstone was born in Liverpool and studied music at the Royal Manchester College of Music of which he became a fellow.  He had an international career as both a solo and duet pianist. He has appeared on more than 70 CDs, many of them with his wife, Caroline Clemmow; they were known professionally as “Goldstone and Clemmow”.

Tony approached Albion Records in 2016 with a proposal to record a number of RVW works including Michael Mullinar’s (and RVW’s) piano duet arrangement of the Fifth Symphony. The project proceeded rapidly, and we released “Music for two Pianos” in time for Christmas. Cancer was diagnosed soon afterwards, and its rapid progress meant that plans for further recordings could not be fulfilled.

A week before his death, Tony wrote: “You will be pleased to know that I play our CD virtually every evening after I’ve hit the sheets, partly because the music is so beautiful, partly because I can hardly believe that we did it!”

Tony died at home, peacefully on the morning of 2 January.  His wife, Caroline, was with him.

Updated 13 March 2017
“Tony” Goldstone with his wife, Caroline Clemmow
“Tony” Goldstone with his wife, Caroline Clemmow.

‘Discoveries’ nominated for Grammy

Our recent CD Discoveries (Three Nocturnes, A Road all Paved with Stars, Stricken Peninsula and Four Last Songs) has been nominated for ‘Best Classical Compendium’ in the forthcoming round of Grammy Awards. This is really thrilling news, and all the people who were involved in the long process of conceiving, recording and finally releasing Discoveries are to be warmly congratulated.

This is not the first time an Albion recording has been nominated: our very successful recording The Solent (Andrew Kennedy, Roland Wood, Paul Daniel and the RLPO) was nominated in the same category a couple of years ago. It didn’t win, but we were pleased (as we are once again) to be nominated.

Here is the full list of nominees in that category (and I would describe at least some of the competition as pretty stiff – we are in seriously good company):

“Daugherty: Tales of Hemingway; American Gothic; Once Upon A Castle” — Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor; Tim Handley, producer

“Gesualdo” — Tõnu Kaljuste, conductor; Manfred Eicher, producer

“Vaughan Williams: Discoveries” — Martyn Brabbins, conductor; [Andrew Walton, producer]“Wolfgang: Passing Through” — Judith Farmer & Gernot Wolfgang, producers; (Various Artists)

“Zappa: 200 Motels – The Suites” — Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor; Frank Filipetti & Gail Zappa, producers

Updated 7 December 2016
Grammy Nominee 2017

Snazzy stylus pens!

We are pleased to offer our new Stylus pens for sale. These smart pens are available in grey, black, blue or green covers; all have black ink biro, and come in a neat presentation box. They are printed with THE RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS SOCIETY and our web-site address.

The pens can be used as an ordinary biro or as a stylus for use on touch screens (smartphones, iPads and other tablets) – an excellent way to stop greasy finger prints on your screen! With Christmas just a few weeks away, these pens will make a lovely Christmas gift or stocking filler.

They are reasonably priced at £2.50 each. Packing & postage within the UK is £1 for up to 5 pens. For destinations outside the UK it goes up to £3.50 – again, for anything up to 5 pens.

Please let us know what colour cover you prefer and we’ll do our best, though some colours are selling very quickly!

Don’t forget our AGM is on 2 October at Denbies, Dorking – our Stylus pens and CDs will be on sale there. 


Preferred Colour


Preferred Colour

Updated 14 September 2016
Smart looking dual function pen with stylus.
Stylus comes with a presentation box.

A Road all Paved with Stars

(Study score arranged by Adrian Williams)

Jointly commissioned by The Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust and Oxford University Press, A Road All Paved with Stars is a single-movement orchestral work incorporating the finest music of Vaughan Williams’s opera The Poisoned Kiss. Using material from the most memorable songs and sections, including Blue larkspur in a garden, Love breaks all rules, and of course the ‘Kiss’ climax and its aftermath, Adrian Williams has created an orchestral synthesis befitting the composer’s own musical vision.
Orchestration: 2fl(II+picc), 2ob, 2cl, 2bn, 4hn, 2tpt, 2tbn, tba, timp, 3perc, hp, str

RRP £12.95 (20% discount for RVW Society members)

Contact Mark Caddick:
Tel: +44 (0)1865 355052
Mobile: +44 (0)7850 289551
Email: mark.caddick@oup.com


Updated 28 July 2016
A Road All Paved with Stars Study Score

Vaughan Williams’s piano

Thanks to a private donor, visitors can now see Vaughan Williams’s piano on display at Leith Hill Place, which he gave to the National Trust in 1945.

For details of concerts and opening times at Leith Hill Place please click on this link.

Added: 04 March 2016