Celebrating 25 Years of Excellence

Vaughan Williams: A Birthday Garland



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’ influence with songs inspired by poets ranging from Shakespeare and Tennyson to W.B. Yeats and Walt Whitman.

First recordings include Herbert Howell’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’ 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’ biographer Simon Heffer provides authoritative booklet notes.

SOMM’s previous Vaughan Williams releases include the widely acclaimed four-volume Vaughan Williams Live series (SOMM ARIADNE 5016, 5018, 5019-2, 5020); Mark Bebbington and Rebeca Omordia’s “compelling”(International Piano) survey of his Piano Music (SOMMCD 0164); and the “priceless document” (MusicWeb International) coupling the Fifth Symphony and Dona nobis pace (SOMMCD 071).

Roderick Williams and Susie Allan’s previous SOMM releases include Celebrating English Song (SOMMCD 0177), lauded by Gramophone as “a treat”; the Ivor Gurney-focused Severn & Somme (SOMM 057), “strongly recommended” by BBC Music Magazine; and Somervell’s A Shropshire Lad and Maud (SOMMCD 0615), “performances of much beauty, empathy and sensitivity” (British Music Society).

On This Recording

  1. Vaughan Williams: The Splendor Falls (3:56)
  2. Wood: Fortune and her Wheel (1:49)
  3. Vaughan Williams: Linden Lea (2:40)
  4. Ravel: Chanson écossaise (2:54)
  5. Bruch: O Saw Ye My Father? (1:32)
  6. Clarke: Down by the Salley Gardens (1:43)
  7. Grace Williams: Jim Cro (1:00)
  8. Butterworth: Roving in the Dew (1:30)
  9. Holst: Darest Thou Now O Soul (4:02)
  10. Boyle: The Last Invocation (2:47)
  11. Gurney: Reconciliation (3:06)
  12. Vaughan Williams: A Clear Midnight (1:56)
  13. Stanfordd: Joy, Shipmate, Joy! (1:49)
  14. Gipps: The Pulley (3:32)
  15. Vaughan Williams: The Call (1:51)
  16. Vaughan Williams: The Twilight People (2:32)
  17. Howells: The Sorrow of Love* (2:49)
  18. Maconchy: The Wind and the Rain (2:17)
  19. Parry: Under the Greenwood Tree (1:40)
  20. Dring: Take, O Take Those Lips Away (3:10)
  21. Vaughan Williams: When Icicles Hang by the Wall (1:19)
  22. Finzi: Who is Silvia? (1:34)
  23. Vaughan Williams: I Have Trod the Upward and Downward Slope (2:12)
  24. Vaughan Williams: Menelaus (4:31)
Sarah Cattley A Square and Candle-lighted Boat* (15:02)
  1. No. 1, The Bedroom Dawn
  2. No. 2, The Coast – Norfolk
  3. No. 3, Bickers Cottage
  4. No. 4, The Country Bedroom
  5. No. 5, Waking in the Attic Bedroom
  1. Roderick Williams: The Shepherd* (2:47)
*First Recordings
Roderick Williams, baritone
Susie Allan, piano