“Music of undeniable beauty.”

The Globe

25 May 1912


A premiere recording from




The recording label of


An hour of unknown but lovely music, from the early maturity of Vaughan Williams, now recorded for the first time.


In 1911, Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote music for three plays by Euripides – The Bacchae, Electra and Iphigenia in Tauris – then newly translated into English verse. Isadora Duncan had danced for the composer and asked him to write music for her to dance to within The Bacchae, and he also worked with the translator, Gilbert Murray. A planned production of Iphigenia in Tauris did not come off, but there was a public performance of the music alone in May 1912. It was described at the time as being music of ‘undeniable beauty’ and Gilbert Murray wrote that the music was set ‘in my judgement extraordinarily well’.

The mezzo soprano soloist, Heather Lowe in her recording debut, sometimes sings and sometimes recites the words of the choruses, accompanied by female voices (and additional soloists) from Joyful Company of Singers and by Britten Sinfonia conducted by Alan Tongue. Alan Tongue transcribed the music from parts and scores in the British Library, realising some of it from short score.

Recording at St Jude

Above: Beyond My Dream recording session.


The Bacchae
Thou immaculate on high 11’47

1) Onward O labouring tread  11’47
2)  for the ships of Troy  6’54

Iphigenia in Tauris
Realised from short score by Alan Tongue
1) Prelude 2’06
2) Dark of the sea  8’38
3) Bird of the sea rocks 9’08
4) Oh, fair the fruits of Leto blow 6’53
5) Go forth in bliss 3’06

(CD1 total playing time: 62’44)

Heather Lowe  Mezzo Soprano
Joyful Company of Singers  Music Director Peter Broadbent
Britten Sinfonia  Leader Magnus Johnston
Alan Tongue  Conductor

Also... from Albion Records…


Above: Purer than Pearl recording session.

and more from Albion Records...


Discoveries offers world-première recordings of works by Ralph Vaughan Williams and an insight into him as a visionary, as a romantic, as a patriot and as a lover. The works presented here span his entire working career, from the Three Nocturnes of 1908 to the Four Last Songs composed fifty years later. What unites them is that living composers have been involved in realising them in their present form. Three composers, Anthony Payne, Adrian Williams and Philip Lane, combine an understanding of Vaughan Williams’s music with a deep love of it, so that the additional writing enhances rather than conceals or modifies RVW’s original.

Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Symphony Orchestra recording Discoveries.

Roderick Williams

Adrian Williams

Jennifer Johnston

Philip Lane

Martyn Brabbins

Roderick Williams & Anthony Payne

…and new from Albion Records
(May 2019)

Ralph Vaughan Williams


Suite for viola and piano
Romance for viola and piano
Six Studies in English Folk Song
Fantasia on Greensleeves
Fantasia on Sussex Folk Tunes
Four Hymns for Tenor, Viola and Piano

Martin Outram ~ viola
Julian Rolton ~ piano
Mark Padmore ~ tenor 

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October 2019

3 critically acclaimed recordings

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Albion Records is the recording label of the Ralph Vaughan Williams Society

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