PRESIDENT: SIR ANDREW DAVIS CBE
The First Songs of Travel
The 1954 Richard Standen / Frederick Stone Recital
This pioneering 1954 Westminster LP recital by Richard Standen (bass-baritone), accompanied by Frederick Stone (piano), has been remastered for Albion Records by Ronald Grames in excellent sound and issued on ALBCD055.
This was the first recording of the (then) entire Songs of Travel and includes premiere recordings of five of the songs. We now know the full cycle of nine songs, but only eight of them were published in the composer’s lifetime. The ninth song was not found until after the composer’s death, some four years after this recording was made. Standen’s performance of Songs of Travel was highly regarded by Vaughan Williams.
Richard Standen lived from 1912 to 1987. He appeared on many recital and concert broadcasts on the BBC and soloed in the Bach passions under Vaughan Williams’s baton. He was a popular soloist in choral festivals throughout Great Britain and the European continent during 25 years of active performing, as well as a popular song recitalist. For 20 years he was a well-regarded professor of voice at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, beginning in 1963.
Frederick Stone is only known today as Kathleen Ferrier’s accompanist on a frequently reissued recital disc, but he had a remarkable 30-year career as a staff accompanist for the BBC and appeared in hundreds of broadcasts with many of the great and near-great performers of his time. This release pays homage to an artist who, sadly now almost forgotten, should be much better known.
Other works by Vaughan Williams in this recital are Silent Noon, The Water Mill – which we know Standen studied with Vaughan Williams – and Linden Lea. Other composers represented (all in the Sea Ballads second half of the recital) are:
Frederick Keel (1871-1954)
Michael Head (1900-1976)
Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924)
John Ireland (1879-1962)
Albert Mallinson (1870-1946)
Malcolm Davidson (1891-1949)
Peter Warlock (1894-1930).
In addition to Vaughan Williams, Head and Ireland were still living at the time the recording was made, and the recital included premiere recordings of Keel’s Three Salt-Water Ballads as a cycle, and of Davidson’s A Christmas Carol.
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