Ralph Vaughan Williams: Serenade

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Serenade

ALBCD 053 (Albion Records, CD)

FIRST RELEASE (12 October 2022)

Playing time: 66'56"
Tracks: 19
Booklet pages: 28
℗ 2022 Albion Records
© 2022 Albion Records
Main country of recording: United Kingdom
Reviewer: Gerald Fenech
Review of Ralph Vaughan Williams: Serenade published on 12 October 2022

Tredegar Town Band (tracks 1, 6, 8 and 17)
Ian Porthouse, conductor (track 17)
David Briggs, organ (tracks 2, 7 and 9)
Mary Bevan, soprano (track 3)
Nicky Spence, tenor (track 4)
Roderick Williams, baritone (track 5)
Chapel Choir of the Royal Hospital Chelsea (tracks 7, 18 and 19)
William Vann, piano (tracks 3-5), conductor (tracks 7, 18 and 19)
Joshua Ryan, organ (tracks 7 and 19)
Lynn Arnold and Charles Matthews, piano duet (tracks 10-13)
Charles Matthews, organ (tracks 14-16)
Eloise Irving, soprano (track 19)
Angus McPhee, bass (track 19)

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958):

1 Flourish for Three Trumpets

Ralph Vaughan Williams, arranged for organ by David Briggs:

2 Serenade to Music

Ralph Vaughan Williams:

3 She's Like the Swallow

4 The Winter's Gone and Past

5 I will give my Love an Apple

6 Four Cambridge Flourishes for Four Trumpets - Numbers 1 and 2

7 For All the Saints and improvisation

8 Four Cambridge Flourishes for Four Trumpets - Numbers 3 and 4

Ralph Vaughan Williams, arranged for organ by David Briggs:

9 March Past of The Kitchen Utensils (The Wasps)

Ralph Vaughan Williams:

Suite for Four Hands on One Pianoforte
10 Prelude
11 Minuet (first version)
12 Sarabande
13 Gigue

Ralph Vaughan Williams, arranged for organ by Herbert Byard:

14 Variations on Aberystwyth

Ralph Vaughan Williams, arranged for organ by Len Rhodes:

15 Pezzo Ostinato

Ralph Vaughan Williams, arranged for organ by Herbert Byard:

16 The Call (Five Mystical Songs)

Ralph Vaughan Williams, arranged for brass band by Paul Hindmarsh:

17 Two Herefordshire Carols

Ralph Vaughan Williams:

18 Dives and Lazarus

19 God be With You Till We Meet Again (Randolph)

'Serenade is Albion's eighth and final release in this calendar year, so it is appropriate that it is released on Ralph Vaughan Williams' 150th birthday, Wednesday 12 October 2022. Of course CDs are only ever released on a Friday, so it is officially available from Friday the 14th – but participating retailers will be offering it for sale two days early in the spirit of the anniversary. Slightly tongue in cheek, I suggested in the booklet that it is a party album for this special birthday. If so, it is the sort of party that Vaughan Williams would have enjoyed – with five world premiere recordings and a number of transcriptions made especially for the album. We have re-used a few tracks in order to link disparate sound worlds together, but 80% of the total playing time is represented by new recordings. At the heart of the album is David Briggs' dreamy organ transcription of Serenade to Music, played at Truro Cathedral. It was held back from our recent Transcriptions from Truro recording because there was insufficient space for it. David also gives us The March Past of the Kitchen Utensils from The Wasps – now that really is a party piece – and what the French would call a sortie based on Sine Nomine. The premiere recordings comprise a Flourish for Three Trumpets and no less than four unpublished 'Cambridge' Flourishes for Four Trumpets, played by members of the Tredegar Band, who also give us a brass band arrangement of Two Herefordshire Carols, as harmonised by Vaughan Williams, under their conductor, Ian Porthouse. There are three folk songs – new recordings for this album, made at the same time as the four albums of our complete Folk Songs series, each of the three soloists singing a folk song previously recorded by one of the others. Lynn Arnold and Charles Matthews reprise the early Suite for Four Hands on One Pianoforte, with the original version of the Minuet. Charles Matthews goes on to play organ arrangements of three works by Vaughan Williams. We conclude with a hymn tune that Vaughan Williams named after his cousin and best man, Ralph Wedgwood, known to his friends as Randolph – set to words that Vaughan Williams salvaged from a Moody and Sankey hymn: God be with you till we meet again. This is a quiet end to a well-behaved party, looking forward to another 150 years of great music.' - John Francis

Recorded in the UK on 4-5 December 2021 at Brangwyn Hall Swansea (tracks 1, 6, 8 and 17), on 11–13 August 2021 at Truro Cathedral (tracks 2, 7 and 9), on 7–11 June 2020 at Henry Wood Hall, London (tracks 3-5), on 7–9 January 2021 at West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge (tracks 10-13), on 21 March 2021 at Temple Speech Room, Rugby School, Rugby (tracks 14-16) and on 16–18 February 2018 (track 18) and 17 June 2021 (tracks 7 and 19) at St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead, London.