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Ralph Vaughan Williams: Fair Child of Beauty (The Bridal Day and Epithalamion)

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Brilliant Case (Jewel Case size, Holds 2 CDs)
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Ralph Vaughan Williams: Fair Child of Beauty (The Bridal Day and Epithalamion)
Ralph Vaughan Williams: Fair Child of Beauty (The Bridal Day and Epithalamion) Ralph Vaughan Williams: Fair Child of Beauty (The Bridal Day and Epithalamion)


Albion Records presents the world-première recording of Vaughan Williams's 1938 Masque The Bridal Day, conducted by Alan Tongue at Henry Wood Hall, London in 2015.

A young poet named Ursula Wood met Ralph Vaughan Williams for lunch on 31 March 1938 and they fell in love with each other immediately. They agreed to collaborate on a work based on Spenser's Epithalamion, poetry written for his own wedding day; love pervades the masque, The Bridal Day, which Ralph and Ursula wrote together. It includes a speaker reciting some of Spenser's lines. Later, Vaughan Williams recast the work as a choral cantata, Epithalamion, with an enlarged chorus and the string quartet increased to a full complement of strings.

John Hopkins is best known for playing Sgt. Dan Scott in Midsomer Murders. He trained at RADA and read English at the University of Leeds. After graduating, he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company. Philip Smith studied singing at Birmingham Conservatoire and at the Royal Northern College of Music, graduating with distinction in 2008. He is the recipient of the Joyce and Michael Kennedy Prize for the singing of Richard Strauss. He has a thriving operatic career. Joyful Company of Singers is known for its virtuosity and intensity of spirit, as well as for an astoundingly wide repertoire, ranging from the 16th Century to the present day. Formed in 1988, by conductor Peter Broadbent, the choir has a discography of over 25 CDs. Founded in 1992, Britten Sinfonia is acclaimed for its virtuoso musicianship and a versatility that is second to none. It breaks the mould by not having a principal conductor or director, instead choosing to collaborate with a range of the finest international guest artists, resulting in performances of rare insight and energy. They also feature on ALBCD033: Beyond my Dream. Alan Tongue has been conducting English music abroad for over twenty years, including the Hungarian première of The Dream of Gerontius and the Argentinian première of Belshazzar's Feast. His Vaughan Williams conducting includes The Shepherds of the Delectable Mountains and a week of Sir John in Love. He also conducts on ALBCD020 Vaughan Williams: A Cambridge Mass and on ALBCD033 Vaughan Williams: Beyond my Dream


This new recording is the only version of The Bridal Day currently available in the catalogue. Fortunately it is a very good one. The septet of players from the Britten Sinfonia ensure that Vaughan Williams's music, by turns playful, lithe and sensually alluring, is winningly projected, and the baritone Philip Smith contributes warmly. Crucially the speaking part is judged perfectly by John Hopkins. This new release does a valuable service in bringing The Bridal Day back into circulation, and will hopefully stimulate some enterprising company into another tilt at staging it. --Terry Blain, BBC Music Magazine, July 2016

Alan Tongue masterminds outstandingly sympathetic accounts of both these rarities, drawing an enviably secure and consistently stylish response from the Joyful Company of Singers and members of the Britten Sinfonia, and there are also memorably eloquent contributions from speaker John Hopkins and baritone Philip Smith. Top-notch production values, too, from the expert team of Andrew Walton and Mike Clements. --Andrew Achenbach, Gramophone, March 2016


  1. Name
  2. Vaughan Williams: The Bridal Day Scene I (Andante con moto, allegretto)
  3. Vaughan Williams: The Bridal Day Scene II (Allegretto, largamente)
  4. Vaughan Williams: The Bridal Day Scene III (Allegro moderato)
  5. Vaughan Williams: The Bridal Day Scene IV (Moderato, allegro, lento)
  6. Vaughan Williams: The Bridal Day Scene V (Allegro, lento, andante con moto)
  7. Vaughan Williams: The Bridal Day Scene VI (Andante sostenuto)
  8. Vaughan Williams: The Bridal Day Scene VII (Andante sostenuto)
  9. Vaughan Williams: The Bridal Day Scene VIII (Allegretto)
  10. Vaughan Williams: The Bridal Day Scene IX (Lento)
  11. Vaughan Williams: The Bridal Day Scene X (Molto adagio)
  12. Vaughan Williams: The Bridal Day Scene XI (Andante maestoso)
  13. Vaughan Williams: Epithalamion: Prologue
  14. Vaughan Williams: Epithalamion: Song: 'Wake now'
  15. Vaughan Williams: Epithalamion: The Calling of the Bride
  16. Vaughan Williams: Epithalamion: The Minstrels
  17. Vaughan Williams: Epithalamion: Procession of the Bride
  18. Vaughan Williams: Epithalamion: The Temple Gates
  19. Vaughan Williams: Epithalamion: The Bell-Ringers
  20. Vaughan Williams: Epithalamion: The Lover's Song
  21. Vaughan Williams: Epithalamion: The Minstrel's Song
  22. Vaughan Williams: Epithalamion: Song of the Winged Loves
  23. Vaughan Williams: Epithalamion: Prayer to Juno
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