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This album, released on 11 October 2019, 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 summers 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 Williamss 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 Holsts 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.