Featuring Mary Bevan (soprano), Nicky Spence (tenor), Roderick Williams (baritone), Jack Liebeck (violin) and me at the piano, plus some glorious moments with a superb, socially distanced chorus, we recorded this back in the height of lockdown, and the result will be a four disc series of the complete Vaughan Williams Folk Songs for voice(s) and piano. If you don’t know this music, and not many people do, you’ll be blown away by the incredible variety and inventive way in which Vaughan Williams set some of the most beautiful melodies in the English language. Pre-order your copies now! I’ve included a link to Presto Classical’s website so you can avoid giving even more money to Jeff Bezos.
I was thrilled to be appointed Musical Director of Dulwich Choral Society in March, though sadly because of the ensuing lockdown, I haven’t yet been able to rehearse with the society in person. However, I’m delighted to have been working every week with them via Zoom, a series of podcasts and, shortly, a remote recording project, and am hoping it won’t be too long before we can all make music together!
It has been sad to type “THIS CONCERT HAS BEEN CANCELLED” above all my forthcoming engagements today, but I hope that once we have fought our way through the COVID-19 epidemic, classical music will recover and we can once again meet and make music together. In the meanwhile, I’m focusing my energy on 1) my children 2) Royal Hospital Chelsea (where I am the paper delivery boy each morning and have been playing the trumpet again for the first time in about 15 years) and 3) several exciting recording projects. I wish you, and your families, all the best over the coming months.
The world premiere recording of Parry’s oratorio Judith is released on Chandos on Friday 28th February – take a look at the Chandos website here and download/pre-order your copy!
13th September 2019: Albion Records’ latest release The Song of Love is out today! I’m on the piano, accompanying Kitty Whately and Roderick Williams on a disc that was a huge pleasure to record and includes one of my favourite song cycles of all time, Ralph Vaughan Williams’s The House of Life. Kitty is the first ever female artist to record the whole cycle, even though the premiere in 1904 at Bechstein Hall (now Wigmore Hall) was sung by the contralto Edith Clegg. Also on the disc are no fewer than sixteen premiere recordings by Vaughan Williams, including the simple but stunning Quant li Louseignolz, sung by Roderick Williams in Medieval French and the inspiration for the nightingale on the CD sleeve. You can buy it directly from Albion Records, or from Presto Classical here.
Delighted that the press reaction to the revival of Parry’s Judith has been so positive. Check out some of the reviews here:
Seen and Heard
I’m hugely excited to be conducting a revival and recording of Parry’s first oratorio Judith at Royal Festival Hall next April.
It is a work that has been largely neglected for the best part of a century and never recorded. This will be a large undertaking and a hugely important event in the modern revival of Parry’s music, and neglected English masterpieces in general. The London English Song Festival, a registered charity in the UK that seeks to increase the knowledge of neglected music, is overseeing the project.
It will be critical to raise funds to support the recording in particular, in order to fill an important missing piece in the musical jigsaw of Parry, a giant of English choral and orchestral writing.
Tickets for the concert on 3rd April 2019 go on sale on 4th September. See the LESF Judith page for more information on the events and to find out how to support us.
I’m hugely looking forward to recording Alan Charlton’s masterful song cycle The Cloud, setting Percy Bysshe Shelley’s wonderful poem, with April Fredrick at Potton Hall on Monday and Tuesday. It’s been an immensely challenging but hugely rewarding piece to get to grips with, and Potton Hall’s other-worldly location will be the perfect backdrop for a piece of writing that riffs on the very nature of nature itself.
Two recordings on which I perform are released today! Purer than Pearl is a really special disc of Ralph Vaughan Williams songs: the opening six songs have never been published are world premiere recordings. Carols from Chelsea is my first recording with the fabulous Chapel Choir of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, featuring some superb solos from choir members and even a Chelsea Pensioner!
Booking is now open for the Songs of the Somme, the London English Song Festival’s 2016 project. William is Artistic Director of the LESF and will be playing for all the performances.