Time and Space

Songs by Holst and Vaughan Williams

This album includes fourteen world-première recordings – ten of works by Holst and four by Vaughan Williams.

2019 marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of The Ralph Vaughan Williams Society in June 1994. The Society and its recording subsidiary, Albion Records, are delighted to celebrate that with our first collaboration with the Holst Society, founded in May 2017. The two composers were not just the best of friends but also close musical colleagues; they would go off on walking holidays and ‘field trips’ and the cover photograph for the album records a blissful moment on a summer’s day from just such an adventure.

The recording alternates the two composers, beginning with an early set of six songs by Holst, followed by Vaughan Williams’s rarely recorded song cycle Along the Field for voice and violin. We contrast the two composers in settings of cradle songs (there are five lullabies on the album). A series of folk songs is followed by Holst’s Four Songs for Voice and Violin. The album concludes with the ‘contest’ to set Darest Thou Now O Soul, Walt Whitman’s famous poem from ‘Sea Drift’. Vaughan Williams won that contest, but these first recordings enable us to make our own judgement.

Mary Bevan MBE is a winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Young Artist award and UK Critics’ Circle Award for Exceptional Young Talent in music. She has performed many operatic roles at ENO and at opera houses all over the world. Roderick Williams OBE is one of the most sought after baritones of his generation. His numerous recordings include Vaughan Williams, Berkeley and Britten operas for Chandos and an extensive repertoire of English song with pianist Iain Burnside for both Naxos and Albion Records. Jack Liebeck’s 2002 debut album, Works for Violin & Piano with Katya Apekisheva, was the Telegraph CD of the Week and nominated for a Classical Brit Award. His Dvorak recording won him the 2010 Classical Brit Award – Young Artist of the Year – and his Brahms Violin Sonatas was received with critical acclaim. William Vann is a multiple-prize winning accompanist and conductor, He is the Director of Music at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, and the founder and Artistic Director of the London English Song Festival. In April 2019 he conducted Hubert Parry’s long-neglected oratorio Judith in the Royal Festival Hall, which he has also recorded for Chandos Records.

Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust logo

Mary Bevan sings both beautifully and expressively. Violinist Jack Liebeck is a delicate, silver-toned, and equally eloquent partner to Bevan in the two cycles. Roderick Williams is at the pinnacle of his career, arguably England’s finest male exponent of vocal song. William Vann is once again everything one could desire in a piano partner – not merely an accompanist – in this repertoire.’
James Altena

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Holst: Six Songs, Op. 15 H.68, 1902-03
1 Invocation to the Dawn
2 Fain Would I Change That Note
3 The Sergeant’s Song
4 In a Wood
5 Between Us Now
6 I Will Not Let Thee Go

Vaughan Williams: Along the Field, 1925 / 1927
7 We’ll to the Woods No More
8 Along the Field
9 The Half-Moon Westers Low
10 In the Morning
11 The Sigh that Heaves the Grasses
12 Good-Bye
13 Fancy’s Knell
14 With Rue my Heart is Laden
15 Vaughan Williams: A Cradle Song, 1894/1905
16 Holst: Cradle Song from Six Songs, Op. 16 H.69, 1903-04
17 Vaughan Williams: Blake’s Cradle Song, 1928

Holst: Four Songs, Op 4, H.14, 1896-98
18 Slumber-Song
19 Margrete’s Cradle-Song
20 Soft and Gently
21 Awake, my Heart

Folk songs from the Eastern Counties and Hampshire
22 Vaughan Williams: Bushes and Briars, 1908
23 Holst: The Willow Tree, H.83/6, 1906-08
24 Vaughan Williams: The Lark in the Morning, 1908
25 Holst: Abroad as I was walking, H.83/1, 1906-08
26 Vaughan Williams: The Captain’s Apprentice, 1908

Holst: Four Songs for Voice and Violin, Op.35, H.132, 1916-17
27 Jesu Sweet, Now Will I Sing
28 My Soul Has Nought but Fire and Ice
29 I Sing of a Maiden that Matchless is
30 My Leman is So True
31 Vaughan Williams: Darest Thou Now O Soul, 1904? / 1925
32 Holst: Darest Thou Now O Soul, H.72, 1904-05

Total playing time 76:15


Mary Bevan, mezzo-soprano
Roderick Williams baritone
Jack Liebeck violin
William Vann piano

ALBCD038 – Time and Space
Songs by Holst and Vaughan Williams
Release Date: October 11, 2019
(CD format, downloads and streaming)