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Albion’s Journey

The Life and Works of Ralph Vaughan Williams 1872-1958

By popular demand, the album begins with the first recording of The Robin’s Nest, which is the first piece known to have been written by Vaughan Williams, in his sixth year.

This album largely comprises a selection of tracks from eleven of the recordings issued by Albion Records between 2013 and 2019, including two albums that were nominated for Grammy awards. However, there are seven tracks that are new to CD.  On six spoken-word tracks we hear the voices of Vaughan Williams himself, Herbert Howells, Michael Tippett and Roy Douglas. We learn something of the composer’s musical education, his views on folk song, his working methods, and the affection felt towards him by many of those who were close to him.

Also, by popular demand, the album begins with the first recording of The Robin’s Nest, which is the first piece known to have been written by Vaughan Williams, in his sixth year.

Albion Records specialises in world-première recordings, mainly but not exclusively of works by Vaughan Williams, and many of these have been fairly early works. Despite that, this album features works written in the reign of every monarch from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II, covering an 80 year span from 1878 to 1958.

Our previous compilation, issued in 2015, ALBCDSAMP Albion’s Vision (still available), set out Albion’s early successes. This new release combines music with the spoken word to trace elements of the composer’s lifelong journey.  Just as Pilgrim (or Christian in Bunyan’s novel and the 1943 radio play) is travelling towards the Celestial City, Vaughan Williams, much influenced by Blake, was on his own journey, in search of a New Albion.  It concludes with the composer talking about the Pilgrim’s battle with Apollyon, followed by our 1943 recording of Christian’s passage through the waters, to be serenaded with Alleluias by the Heavenly Hosts.

The cover is based on an unpublished photograph taken by Ursula Vaughan Williams on their honeymoon in 1953, on the shores of Lake Garda.

Discoveries
PREMIERE RECORDINGS
CRITICAL REVIEWS

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Postage is fixed at £3 per order – to anywhere in the world – irrespective of the number of CDs in the order.

TRACK LISTING AND ARTISTS

All tracks are by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) except for spoken word tracks.

  1. The Robin’s Nest (1878) Frank Ericson (piano)
  2. Summum Bonum (1891 Nicky Spence (tenor) / William Vann (piano) From ALBCD029 – Purer than Pearl
  3. Vaughan Williams Talking about Parry
  4. Three Vocal Valses: Winter (1896) Chapel Choir of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea / William Vann (piano) From ALBCD034 – Earth and Sky
  5. Burley Heath (1902-1903), completed by James Francis Brown Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra / Paul Daniel (conductor) From ALBCD016 – The Solent – Nominated for a Grammy Award
  6. The Last Invocation (1904) Mary Bevan (soprano) / Johnny Herford (baritone) / William Vann (piano) From ALBCD029 – Purer than Pearl
  7. Smile O Voluptuous Cool-Breath’d Earth (1908) Orchestrated by Anthony Payne Roderick William (baritone) / BBC Symphony Orchestra / Martyn Brabbins (conductor) From ALBCD028 – Discoveries – Nominated for a Grammy Award
  8. Herbert Howells Talking about RVW
  9. Oh, Fair the Fruits Of Leto Blow (1911-1912) Heather Lowe (mezzo soprano) / Joyful Company of Singers / Britten Sinfonia / Alan Tongue (conductor) From ALBCD025 – Fair Child of Beauty
  10. The Twelve Apostles (a folk song arrangement published in 1919) Chapel Choir of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea / Thomas Stoddart (baritone) / Hugh Rowlands (organ) / William Vann (director) From ALBCD035 – A Vaughan Williams Christmas
  11. Vaughan Williams Talking about Folk Song
  12. A Farmer’s Boy (a folk song arrangement published in 1921) Chapel Choir of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea / William Vann (director) From ALBCD034 – Earth and Sky
  13. Dirge for Fidele (1922) Les Sirènes Female Chamber Choir / Andrew Nunn (Director) / Fionnuala Ward (piano) From ALBCD030 – Sing Willow
  14. Roy Douglas Talking about Vaughan Williams
  15. Wither’s Rocking Hymn (1928) Chapel Choir of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea / Eloise Irving (soprano) / Edward Hughes (tenor) / Hugh Rowlands (organ) / William Vann (director) From ALBCD035 – A Vaughan Williams Christmas
  16. The Running Set, arr. for two pianos by Vally Lasker and Helen Bidder (1933) Goldstone and Clemmow (two pianos) From ALBCD031 – Music for Two Pianos, including an arrangement of the Fifth Symphony
  17. Suite for Viola and Pianoforte I. Prelude (1934) Martin Outram (viola) / Julian Rolton (piano) From ALBCD036 – Viola Fantasia
  18. Dear Love (from ‘The Poisoned Kiss’, 1928) Arranged from the opera by Adrian Williams Nicky Spence (tenor) / William Vann (piano) From ALBCD029 – Purer than Pearl
  19. Love Breaks all Rules (from ‘The Poisoned Kiss’, 1928) Arranged from the opera by Adrian Williams Jennifer Johnston (mezzo soprano) / William Vann (piano) From ALBCD029 – Purer than Pearl
  20. The Bridal Day, Scene VI (extract) (1938) Philip Smith (Baritone) / Joyful Company of Singers / Britten Sinfonia Septet / Alan Tongue (Conductor) From ALBCD025 – Fair Child of Beauty
  21. Michael Tippett Talking about RVW
  22. Four Last Songs: Procris (1958) Orchestrated by Anthony Payne Jennifer Johnston (mezzo soprano) / BBC Symphony Orchestra / Martyn Brabbins (conductor) From ALBCD028 – Discoveries – Nominated for a Grammy Award
  23. Vaughan Williams Talking about Sibelius
  24. Christian And Hopeful Meet the Heavenly Hosts (1943) From a radio play of ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’, broadcast in September 1943 Margaret Godley (soprano) / Margaret Rolfe (contralto) / BBC Chorus / BBC Symphony Orchestra / Sir Adrian Boult (conductor) From ALBCD023 – The Pilgrim’s Progress, complete radio play with incidental music

    Total playing time 77:51

Mary Bevan ~ soprano (tracks 7-21, 27-30)
Roderick Williams ~ baritone (tracks 1-6, 22-26, 31-32)
Jack Liebeck ~ violin (tracks 7-14, 27-30)
William Vann ~ piano (tracks 1-6, 15-26, 31-32)

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