Vaughan Williams - A Birthday Garland | Somm SOMMCD0683

Vaughan Williams - A Birthday Garland


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Label: Somm

Cat No: SOMMCD0683

Barcode: 0748871068322

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Vocal/Choral

Release Date: 15th March 2024



SOMM Recordings is delighted to announce Vaughan Williams – A Birthday Garland, a recording of baritone Roderick Williams and pianist Susie Allan’s popular 2022 concert tribute to Ralph Vaughan Williams originally marking the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth.

Curating a “fantasy birthday party concert” in tribute to “the grand-daddy of 20th-century English song”, Williams has assembled pieces by RVW and 18 fellow composers. The result is a wide-ranging celebration of the rich variety of English song over a century and more that pays tribute to Vaughan Williams’s influence with songs inspired by poets ranging from Shakespeare and Tennyson to W.B. Yeats and Walt Whitman.

First recordings include Herbert Howells’s The Sorrow of Love, a setting of the Irish poet Seamus O’Sullivan; Sarah Cattley’s A Square and Candle-lighted Boat, treating verses by RVW’s cousin, Frances Cornford; and Roderick Williams’s own distinctive take on William Blake’s The Shepherd.

The 30-song recital includes songs by RVW’s teachers (Stanford, Parry, Wood, Bruch, Ravel), friends (Holst, Gurney, Howells, Butterworth, Finzi and others), and pupils (Grace Williams, Ina Boyle, Ruth Gipps, Elizabeth Maconchy and Madeleine Dring). Vaughan Williams’s biographer Simon Heffer provides authoritative booklet notes.

SOMM’s previous Vaughan Williams releases include the widely acclaimed four-volume Vaughan Williams Live series (SOMM ARIADNE5016, 5018, 5019-2, 5020); Mark Bebbington and Rebeca Omordia’s “compelling” (International Piano) survey of his Piano Music (SOMMCD0164); and the “priceless document” (MusicWeb International) coupling the Fifth Symphony and Dona nobis pacem (SOMMCD071).

Roderick Williams and Susie Allan’s previous SOMM releases include Celebrating English Song (SOMMCD0177), lauded by Gramophone as “a treat”; the Ivor Gurney-focused Severn & Somme (SOMM057), “strongly recommended” by BBC Music Magazine; and Somervell’s A Shropshire Lad and Maud (SOMMCD0615), “performances of much beauty, empathy and sensitivity” (British Music Society).

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