PRESIDENT: SIR ANDREW DAVIS CBE
GUEST OF THE MONTH NOVEMBER 2023
‘Guest of the Month’ interviewee for November 2023 is Ralph Vaughan Williams Society Vice-President, Roderick Williams OBE. Interview by Andrew Green.
Apart from his concert, recital and opera engagements on the international scene in wide-ranging repertoire, Roderick Williams has a special place in many hearts for his longstanding championing of British music. His numerous recordings include Vaughan Williams, Berkeley and Britten operas for Chandos, and an extensive repertoire of English song with pianist Iain Burnside for Naxos. Roderick has made a major contribution to a series of volumes of Vaughan Williams folk song arrangements released by Albion Records, the recording wing of the RVW Society (and one or two earlier recordings, besides).
Roderick is an established composer, a role which has gained him the position of Composer in Association with the BBC Singers. In 2016 he won the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Singer of the Year award, and in June 2017 was awarded an OBE for services to music. He also performed at the Coronation of King Charles III in 2023.
Our video recording is topped and tailed with recordings from Albion’s recent complete folk songs series.
GUEST OF THE MONTH OCTOBER 2023
The Ralph Vaughan Williams Society ‘Guest of the Month’ interviewee for October 2023 is conductor Martyn Brabbins. Interview by Andrew Green.
Martyn Brabbins is Music Director of English National Opera. Apart from his many commitments in the opera house, Martyn guests with top international orchestras such as the Royal Concertgebouw, San Francisco Symphony, DSO Berlin and Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony, as well as the Philharmonia, BBC Symphony and most of the other leading UK orchestras. He is a popular figure at the BBC Proms, which in 2019 commissioned fourteen living composers to write a birthday tribute to him.
Known for his advocacy of British composers, one of Martyn’s crowning achievements is the complete recorded cycle of the Vaughan Williams symphonies on the Hyperion label. Of one release, Gramophone magazine’s editor decided that ‘Brabbins’s Vaughan Williams symphony cycle continues to go from strength to strength with this impressively cogent, self-effacing reading…scrupulously attentive, uncommonly humane, utterly free of artifice and, to my mind, deserving of a place alongside Barbirolli, Boult, Previn, Handley and Haitink.’
Sir Thomas Allen
To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Vaughan Williams’s birth, The Ralph Vaughan Williams Society welcomed special guest Sir Thomas Allen, to the 2022 Annual General Meeting.
Bright is the Ring of Words
Vaughan Williams adored poetry and was a master at setting words throughout his life. Readings of poetry set by him recapture why they so appealed to him.
Commentary and music, and texts are featured from A Sea Symphony, Songs of Travel, On Wenlock Edge, Pilgrim’s Progress, Riders to the Sea, Serenade to Music… and more.
Hosted by Andrew Green.
Not Lambs Frisking
Marking the precise 100th anniversary of the first performance of A Pastoral Symphony – reflecting Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Great War service on the Western Front.
Jessica Meyer (University of Leeds) and David Stevenson (LSE) bring to life the composer’s wartime experiences.
Andrew Green, writer and broadcaster, considers Vaughan Williams’s reluctance to explain how this ‘Pastoral Symphony’ describes his experience of war.
plus…eye-witness visions of the ‘Pastoral’ from the Western Front.
Shepherds of the Delectable Mountains
In July 2022, The Ralph Vaughan Williams Society held a discussion on Zoom and YouTube to mark the 100th anniversary of the first public performance of Shepherds of the Delectable Mountains – A Pastoral Episode. This recording of the event has been lightly edited. This short “20-minute” opera takes its libretto from Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress.
Revealed – Vaughan Williams’s Secret Salute to the Fallen of the Great War.
Join Andrew Green, writer & broadcaster with historians Jessica Meyer & David Stevenson for the inside story of the music and its post-war background.
The presentation includes a complete recorded performance of the opera set against haunting images of the conflict that inspired it.
A London Symphony: Music and Meaning
Vaughan Williams detested being asked what his music ‘meant’. This online event examines the clues to explaining what is portrayed in perhaps the most colourful of all his symphonies.
Presenters: writer/broadcaster and composer Stephen Johnson, writer/broadcasters Andrew Green and Allan W. Atlas (City University, New York).