Scores by classic British composers Ralph Vaughan Williams, Herbert Howells and Gerald Finzi have been restored to the catalogue thanks to new Boosey & Hawkes publications.
Boosey & Hawkes continues to mine its British music archive and collaborate with composer estates to publish hidden gems by leading 20th century composers. Hot off the press is the first publication of Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Four Hymns as a study score of the version for tenor, viola and string orchestra (979-0-060-12666-6). This 17-minute work shares the mystical, meditative world of the Tallis Fantasia and could be effectively programmed by chamber orchestras with that work, or with Finzi’s Dies natalis or Britten’s Serenade.
As Hugh Cobbe notes in his preface to the score, the first performance of the Four Hymns was planned for the Three Choirs Festival in 1914, but the outbreak of the war meant it was not heard in public until 1920. The tenor soloist sings three historic hymn texts by Jeremy Taylor, Isaac Watts and Richard Crashaw, together with Robert Bridges’s version of the Evening Hymn dating back to the early Greek church. The Four Hymns therefore share affinities with George Herbert’s poetry in the Five Mystical Songs, composed by Vaughan Williams a decade earlier.
> More about the Vaughan Williams score
From the same pre-war era is Herbert Howells’s epic Violin Sonata in B minor, published on sale for the first time (979-0-060-12766-3). The work was composed in 1911 as part of his entry application for the Royal College of Music and lay untouched in the library for a century before being prepared for performance and publication by Paul Spicer. With a span of 40 minutes, the sonata is a major addition to the violin repertoire, demonstrating the prevalent influence of Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius upon the young Howells and only a few hints of Vaughan Williams’s new style that was to become such a vital ingredient. The first performance finally took place in 2013 with Rupert Marshall-Luck and Matthew Rickard and is availale on disc (EMR CD019-20). The Howells Violin Sonata No.1 is also published by Boosey & Hawkes.
> More about the Howells score
Recent Gerald Finzi publications include a new edition of the moving Requiem da Camera, written as a memorial tribute to his teacher Ernest Farrar who lost his life in the First World War. Christian Alexander’s edition is available as study score and vocal score, together with a reduction of the chamber orchestra for organ by Francis Jackson. Similar organ accompaniment versions have been created by Robert Gower for In Terra Pax and For St Cecilia, and John Ireland’s These Things Shall Be is in preparation, all encouraging performance of these works by smaller choirs without recourse to orchestra.
> More about the Finzi score
> Further information on Work: Four Hymns
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