Earth and Sky
Vaughan Williams Choral Premières
This collection of premières gathers together previously unrecorded choral works by Ralph Vaughan Williams, some unpublished.
We have placed the works in a logical order, based on the order of composition but with minor adjustments to group together works with similar forces. Most of them are original compositions by Vaughan Williams, and eight arrangements of traditional tunes are also included.
Vaughan Williams seldom repeated himself; just as each of the major works, including symphonies and operas, was a new journey to another unknown region, these shorter choral works all continually explore and innovate. The works in this recording track the composer’s working career from 1896 to 1954 – a span of very nearly 60 years – illustrating a mind that never ceased to generate new ideas and respond to those of others. This is, above all, a varied collection, including salon music, folk song settings, hymns and anthems, patriotic songs and finally Gaelic songs in English translation.
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958)
Earth and Sky – Choral Premières
Hugh Rowlands (organ)
Chapel Choir of the Royal Hospital Chelsea/ William Vann
rec. 2018, St. Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead, London
ALBION RECORDS ALBCD034 [63:06]
…throughout the programme we hear example after example of VW’s melodic gift and empathy for voices – as we know, he could write a cracking unison tune; look no further than For all the Saints. Furthermore, the programme offers an abundance of examples of his fine craftsmanship. This collection valuably fills out our knowledge of VW.
…The cause of the music is admirably served by William Vann and his fine choir. … The standard of singing is consistently very high and one thing that pleased me greatly was the choir’s excellent diction. Perhaps most important of all, at all times they engage with the music; the performances are always committed.
…Production values are high, too. The sound which producer Andrew Walton and engineer Deborah Spanton have produced is excellent: the choir is always clearly heard and well balanced with the church’s acoustic used intelligently. The organ has been most successfully recorded. All the texts are provided and John Francis has written an excellent and highly informative set of notes.
Vaughan Williams enthusiasts should not hesitate.
TRACK LISTING AND ARTISTS
Three Vocal Valses from The Songs of the Wrens
- Vine, Vine and Eglantine
- Sound Sleep
- The Jolly Ploughboy
- Old Folks at Home
- A Farmerís Boy
- The World It Went Well with Me Then
- Tobaccoís but an Indian Weed
- The New Commonwealth
- O Praise the Lord of Heaven
- My soul, Praise the Lord
- Little Cloister
- A Hymn of Freedom
- England, My England
- A Call to the Free Nations
- The Airmenís Hymn
- Land of Our Birth
- Hymn for St. Margaret of Scotland
Three Gaelic Songs
- Dawn on the Hills
- Come Let Us Gather Cockles
- Wake and Rise
Total time 63:06
William Vann ~ Director (and piano for four tracks)
Chapel Choir of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea
Hugh Rowlands ~ organ (on nine tracks)
Release Date: September 14, 2018