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The Vaughan Williams Collection

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Over the years, Promethean Editions has published a small collection of incidental music by English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) in the Massey University Music series (see PME13, PME14, PME15 & PME16). Recognised as one of the major musical figures of his time, RVW’s vast musical output includes song settings, symphonies, chamber music, opera and choral music. Working in collaboration with the Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust, we have launched The Vaughan Williams Collection – a new series of publications of RVW’s incidental music. The series is overseen by Series Editor Dr Allan Badley, as renowned scholar of eigthteenth-century music, and draws together the work of Dr Robert Hoskins, Alan Tongue and Dr Nathaniel Lew. 

The first edition in this series is incidental music for Gilbert Murray’s English translation of Euripides’ Iphigenia in Tauris (PEV01), edited and arranged by orchestral and choral conductor Alan Tongue. Vaughan Williams was brought into the production of three Greek plays by dancer Isadora Duncan, with the public performance taking place at London’s Royal Court Theatre on Friday 31 May, 1912. 

The series also incorporates revised settings of RVW manuscripts by Dr Nathaniel Lew previously published in the Massey University Music Series. These include incidental music for Lucy and Evelyn Ouless’s 1907 community theatrical production of Part One of John Bunyan’s allegorical Christian novel The Pilgrim’s Progress (PEV07). The novel was a consistent and primary source of inspiration for the composer, who knew the book’s contents intimately, and returned to it repeatedly for a series of works that span much of his career. 

Rounding out our collection are two publications of Vaughan Williams’ incidental music for radio productions. His music for a 1944 radio production of Shakespeare’s Richard II (PEV06) features approximately 25 minutes of original music scored for an orchestra with a full complement of brass and percussion. Although the composer prepared this extensive score, the production never materialized. A concert version has been arranged by Nathaniel Lew (PEV04). Also available is Vaughan Williams’ music for a 1951 radio dramatization of Thomas Hardy’s novel The Mayor of Casterbridge (PEV06). Performance material for each work will also be prepared for hire from Promethean Editions and our North American agents C.F. Peters, New York.

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