The First Songs of Travel

The First Songs of Travel

ALBCD055 (Albion Records, CD)

REISSUE (23 June 2023)

Playing time: 57'09"
Tracks: 22
Booklet pages: 36
℗ 2023 Albion Records
© 2023 Albion Records
Main country of recording: United Kingdom
Reviewer: Gerald Fenech
Review of The First Songs of Travel published on 28 July 2023

Richard Standen, bass-baritone
Frederick Stone, piano

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958):

Songs of Travel, Part 1
1 The Vagabond (Cycle: No 1)
2 Bright is the Ring of Words (Cycle: No 8)
3 The Roadside Fire (Cycle: No 3)

Songs of Travel, Part 2
4 Let Beauty Awake (Cycle: No 2)
5 Youth and Love (Cycle: No 4)
6 In Dreams (Cycle: No 5)
7 The Infinite Shining Heavens (Cycle: No 6)

8 Whither Must I Wander (Cycle: No 7)

9 Silent Noon (The House of Life)

10 The Water Mill (Four Poems by Fredegond Shove)

11 Linden Lea - a Dorset song

Frederick Keel (1871-1954):

Three Salt-Water Ballads
12 Port of Many Ships
13 Trade Winds
14 Mother Carey (as told me by the bo'sun)

Michael Head (1900-1976):

Six Sea Songs
15 Limehouse Reach (No 2)
16 Sweethearts and Wives (No 6)

Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924):

Songs of the Sea, Op 91
17 Drake's Drum (No 1)
18 The 'Old Superb' (No 5)

John Ireland (1879-1962):

19 Sea Fever

Albert Mallinson (1870-1946):

20 Four by the Clock

Malcolm Davidson (1891-1949):

21 A Christmas Carol (being three stanzas from the poem entitled 'Christmas Eve at Sea')

Peter Warlock (1894-1930):

Two True Toper's Tunes to Troll with Trulls and Trollops in a Tavern
22 Captain Stratton's Fancy (No 1)

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. 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' baton. He was a popular soloist in choral festivals throughout Great Britain and the European continent during twenty-five years of active performing, as well as a popular song recitalist. For twenty 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 thirty-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. 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.

Recorded in Autumn 1954 at Westminster's London Studios in the UK and first released on the Westminster XWN 18710 12' LP. Transferred and restored from two copies of this LP by Ronald Grames.