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PRESIDENT: SIR ANDREW DAVIS CBE

SERENADE TO MUSIC FEBRUARY 2024

‘Guest of the Month’ interviewee for February 2024 is John Francis, Chairman of the Ralph Vaughan Williams Society. John joins Andrew Green to discuss the Serenade to Music.

In 1938 Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote his Serenade to Music, a tribute to conductor Henry Wood, for 16 named British singers. This disc gathers together one other recording by each of those 16 singers—a solo one where possible, which in two instances was not the case—followed by their historic 1938 recording of the Serenade.
ALBCD059 Serenade to Music is released on 22 March 2024.

ZOOM DISCUSSION JANUARY 2024

A Zoom discussion of Captain Scott’s ill-fated Terra Nova expedition and Vaughan Williams’s music for the film. Interview by Andrew Green with guest speakers Sarah Airriess, Ann Strathie, Eric Saylor, Kirsten Barker.

Released in 1948, the film Scott of the Antarctic chronicles the ill-fated South Pole expedition (1910–12) of British explorer Robert Falcon Scott. Vaughan Williams later reworked the score as Sinfonia Antartica, to create his 7th symphony.

GUEST OF THE MONTH JANUARY 2024

The Lark Ascending
‘Guest of the Month’ interviewee for January 2024 is violinist Jennifer Pike.
Interview by Andrew Green.

Renowned for her “dazzling interpretative flair and exemplary technique” (Classic FM), violinist Jennifer Pike has taken the musical world by storm with her unique artistry and compelling insight into music from the Baroque to the present day. In demand as soloist and recitalist all over the world, she is known as an artist of exceptional integrity and depth, whilst her ability to “hold an audience spellbound” (The Strad) and “luminous beauty of tone” (The Observer) have established her as one of the most exciting artists performing today.

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).

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